West and Central Africa

Situation Report

Highlights

  • In 2021,more than 54.3 million West and Central Africans require assistance. Eight countries in the region are beset with some of the world’s most acute and prolonged crises.
  • Compared to 2019, the number of people in need in the region has increased by 43 per cent. More than 1 person in 10 requires assistance and protection in 2021.
  • In conflict-affected regions, almost 13 million people have had to flee their homes,1.5 million more than one year ago. Insecurity and violence are threatening people's lives
  • COVID-19 is further compounding acute needs. Sahel countries registered nearly 300,000 cases. Despite challenges, the delivery of assistance continued with adapted modalities.
  • More than US $6.1 billion are needed to meet the humanitarian needs of 34.6 million people in the region. As of July 2021, only 18 per cent of the required funding has been secured
Children affected by crises

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report

Key Figures

54.3m
People in Need
34.6m
People targeted with assistance

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report

Funding

$6.1B
Total HRP requirements
1.7B
Received funding (27%)

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Contacts

Naomi Frerotte

Public Information Officer

Sandy Maroun

Reporting Officer

West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Emergency Response

General overview: context, crisis, and needs

The West and Central Africa region struggles with some of the world’s most acute and prolonged crises. Violence, deep poverty, internal displacement, rapid population growth, climate change, chronically high food insecurity, and malnutrition continue to drive extreme levels of vulnerability. Conflicts in the region’s hotspots persist or have worsened. The COVID-19 pandemic, related prevention measures, and socioeconomic consequences are deeply affecting fragile communities. 

The compounded impact on the most vulnerable people is devastating and causing unprecedented, fast-escalating needs. Compared to last year, the number of people in need in the region has increased by 35 per cent. More than 1 person in 10 requires assistance and protection in 2021. Close to 1,000 humanitarian partner organizations are working across the region to respond to the most urgent needs of these people. Relief operations and local capacity require further scale-up, but funding is not keeping up. Climate change and extreme weather events are major drivers of needs. Droughts are becoming more recurrent and severe, threatening livelihoods in vulnerable rural communities. Rainfall is irregular and increasingly unpredictable. In 2020, flooding affected 2.3 million people in 18 countries of the region, destroying goods, land, and livestock.

In 2021, more than 54 million West and Central Africans require assistance. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria have developed Humanitarian Response Plans requiring more than US $6 billion to reach about 35 million people with aid. As of July 2021, only 17 per cent of the required funding was secured.

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Insecurity and violence continuously threatening lives

In conflict-affected regions, civilians are facing a significant protection crisis. Almost 13 million people have had to flee their homes, 1.5 million more than one year ago. Insecurity and violence are threatening lives and livelihoods, increasing human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, and jeopardizing social cohesion. Insecurity is also constraining humanitarian access, leaving communities without essential assistance and exposing aid workers to increased risks.

In 2021, the situation of millions of children, men, and women affected by the crisis in West and Central Africa remains critical. The trend in the Sahel points to further deterioration, with a significant risk of spillover into coastal countries. 

In the Sahel, forced displacement is at an unprecedented high, with 5 million people uprooted from their homes. More than 14 million people are acutely food insecure – two times more than one year ago. In the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, and western Niger) insecurity has rapidly deteriorated. Since 2018, the number of internally displaced persons has risen twentyfold. In the Lake Chad Basin, incursions and violent incidents remain common, leading to additional displacement and needs.

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Emergency Response

More than 40 million people are facing severe food insecurity

The dramatic deterioration of security, climate shocks, high food prices, as well as the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19, have deepened people’s vulnerability and challenged their access to food. As a result, in 2021 across the region, more than 40 million people are facing severe food insecurity. Of particular concern is the Central Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, including Northern Nigeria, which is just one step away from catastrophe.

The Sahel region is now entering the lean season, which is predicted to experience an unprecedented level of food insecurity. Almost 14 million people will face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity, according to the most recent joint food security assessment. In the Central Sahel, 5.2 million people will find themselves in a food crisis. In the Lake Chad basin, 5.1 million will face hunger in 2021, half a million more than last year.

Furthermore, food prices have been increasing dramatically across the region since 2020. In Nigeria, Niger, and Chad, for example, the prices of major staples rose between 30 to 120% compared to the past five-year average.

Malnutrition persists and risks deteriorating fast in conflict-affected areas. 6.3 million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, including 1.6 million of its severe form. Sustained relief, health system strengthening measures, long-term prevention and early detection at the household level are required to tackle undernutrition and build systems and community resilience.

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Emergency Response

COVID-19 exacerbating acute needs

Across the region, COVID‑19 is further compounding acute needs. Sahel countries have registered nearly 300,000 cases of COVID-19. The delivery of humanitarian assistance continued with adapted delivery modalities accompanied by sensitization measures. In Burkina Faso, Chad, and Nigeria, COVID-19 mitigation measures have had a negative impact on access to agricultural inputs and labour. The COVID crisis, on top of the escalation of conflict, forced displacements, and natural disasters, has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities and significantly worsened protection of women and girls in the region.

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Analysis

Funding Status for West and Central Africa

CERF and CBPF Between the year 2020 and the first half of 2021, both UN pooled funds – the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) - provided over $335 million in support of the humanitarian response in West and Central Africa covering eight countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.

The CERF was granted around $202.4million, of which 64 percent ($130.5 million) came from the Rapid Response window; while 36 per cent ($71.9 million) were issued from the underfunded window. While almost all the region's countries benefited from the CERF Rapid Response in 2020, only Burkina Faso, DRC, Niger, Chad, and Nigeria received funding from the CERF UFE in 2020. In 2021, the CERF has granted $36 million from its Rapid Response window to CAR, DRC, and Nigeria.

For the same period covering from 1 January 2020 through 30 June 2021, the CBPFs allocated nearly $133 million ($129 million in 2021 and $4 million in 2021), of which $35.1million (26 per cent) from the Central African Republic Humanitarian Fund, $75 million (56 per cent) from the Democratic Republic of Congo Humanitarian Fund and $24.3 million (18 per cent) from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund.

Besides their critical role in addressing the most emerging humanitarian needs, both Pooled Funds were instrumental in facilitating the humanitarian community's response to COVID-19. The global pandemic, which created unprecedented challenges for the humanitarian system, called for a flexible and innovative approach.

Funding requirements

Globally, funding requirements of almost all response plans have increased compared to mid-year 2020 and 2019 due the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the largest increases globally, the increase of funding requirements in West and Central Africa is primarily due to the escalating Sahel Region crises. When compared to 2020, requirements in Burkina Faso and Mali increased significantly. When compared to 2019, the increases in requirements are much steeper, with a doubling Mali. In contrast, the requirements for the Central African Republic, have decreased.

Recorded funding

Recorded funding as of July 2021 compared to June 2019 is greater in all regions of the world, except West and Central Africa. More than half of the year 2021 has passed and only 18 per cent of the total requested budget for humanitarian activities in the region has been received. It is a decrease compared to the year 2019 where 25 per cent of the funding was received around the same time of the year. This is mainly due to decreases in the recorded funding in Chad, DRC, Niger, Nigeria, and the regional refugee appeals.

Among West and Central African countries that developed humanitarian response plans, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most funded in absolute terms, with US $310 million, 16 per cent of the required funding, while CAR is the best funded in relative terms with 37 per cent covered or US $166 million received. Niger is the worst-funded with only 10 per cent of its required covered.

Donors and recipients

The United States of America is the biggest donor in the region with US $367 million provided in 2021, followed by Germany with US $136 million. Switzerland provided the least funding with $23 million.

The UN World Food Programme is at the top of funding recipient organizations with US $457million, followed by UNICEF, which has received so far US $117 million. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund received the least funding with US $23million. 

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Access

Regional CMCoord training to address civil-military coordination challenges of humanitarian contexts in the Central Sahel

The security and humanitarian situation in the Central Sahel have deteriorated significantly over the last few years. In Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, several complex and fast-growing crises are developing with unprecedented levels of armed violence, insecurity, and displacement. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes. While access to affected populations is challenged by the deteriorating security situation, humanitarian needs are substantial and growing fast. In addition, insecurity and forced displacement are destroying the social fabric of communities and disrupting basic social services and governance. Food insecurity and human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, are on a sharp rise.

Given the increasing complexity of humanitarian contexts, where national disaster actors, civil protection, humanitarian organizations, and their partners operate in parallel with a robust military presence, enhanced humanitarian civil-military coordination (CMCoord) training is critical to uphold humanitarian principles and preserve the humanitarian operating environment. As such, gathering national, regional, and international humanitarian, development, and peace actors is essential to enable them to learn to coordinate with each other and to uphold humanitarian principles for a sustainable and lasting impact on humanitarian response operations.

Additionally, on 20 October 2020, the High-level Ministerial Round Table on the Central Sahel “reaffirmed full support to the humanitarian actors that are operating under exceptionally challenging and difficult conditions on the ground and stressed the need to sustain humanitarian assistance while also working towards lasting solutions to the challenges that drive the crisis”. UN-CMCoord, the essential dialogue and interaction between civilian and military actors in humanitarian emergencies that is necessary to protect and promote humanitarian principles, is essential in supporting these goals.

Thanks to funding from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), OCHA’s Civil-Military Coordination Service (CMCS) and Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROWCA), organized the first regional CMCoord training to focus on the Central Sahel and held in French. The training was held in Saly, Senegal, from 21 to 25 June 2021 and was uniquely tailored to the Central Sahel context. Participants represented both civilian and military perspectives, to better enhance regional knowledge on CMCoord, but also to learn from each other. Officers from national forces and the multinational G5 Sahel Joint Force attended the course, joining civilians from a range of humanitarian non-governmental and international organizations including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and UN agencies.

The five-day training course pursued the following goals:

-         Develop a comprehensive knowledge base on UN-CMCoord and related concepts to apply guidance, tools, and policies in field operations.

-         Utilize UN-CMCoord concepts to advance collaboration between humanitarian, development, and peace and security partners.

-         Troubleshoot day-to-day challenges to sustain effective coordination with UN-CMCoord stakeholders.

-         Enhance the dialogue between humanitarians and armed actors for a principled humanitarian response, in support of humanitarian access and protection outcomes.

-         Develop alternative strategies to the use of armed escorts for humanitarian assistance, including measures for the safety and security of aid workers.

The training in Senegal is the first in a series of planned training sessions. Other five-day training sessions are planned in the Sahel individual countries including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Additionally, the first Training of Trainers “CMCoord Workshop for Military Training Professionals” is planned for October 2021 and will be designed specifically for the Sahel region context.

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West and Central Africa

Situation Report
Interactive

West and Central Africa 2021 Funding Overview

Funding overview including funding for West and Central Africa Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) and the Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) funding for WCA countries.

WCA Regional Funding Status

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