Christopher Todd McDougall
“The Enduring Drought”
Drought is seen as one of the most crucial geo-political factors in West Africa. Drought has a destructive effect on both rural and urban society. World opinion of the drought problem in Western Africa was altered in 1973 after several years of rain shortfall which led to a dramatic hunger problem. The lack of rains in the Sahel in 1983 brought the problems right back. Details of the cereal deficits of most countries in Africa were produced at the summit of the Inter-State Committee for the Cobat of Drought in the Sahel. The total cereal deficit is over 1.5 million tones, double that of 1973. The drought was also increasingly striking the economics of coastal countries on the Gulf of Guinea. The effect of drought brought serious power problems to those depending on hydro-electric power from dams.
The drought problem just added to the already serious problem of Africa’s food shortage problem. The Sahel drought did bring a short term famine risk, which international aid may meet. Large sums of money have poured into the Sahel since 1973, and studies, symposia, meetings and recommendations have not been in short supply. Donors are still unwilling to work with each other creating a unorganized means of contributions to the cause.