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Related to Sahel: Maghreb


(sähĕl`), name applied to the semiarid region of Africa between the SaharaSahara
[Arab.,=desert], world's largest desert, c.3,500,000 sq mi (9,065,000 sq km), N Africa; the western part of a great arid zone that continues into SW Asia. Extending more than 3,000 mi (4,830 km), from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, the Sahara is bounded on the N by
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 to the north and the savannassavanna
or savannah
, tropical or subtropical grassland lying on the margin of the trade wind belts. The climate of a savanna is characterized by a rainy period during the summer when the area is covered by grasses, and by a dry winter when the grasses wither.
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 to the south, extending from Senegal and Mauritania on the west, through Mali, N Burkina Faso, Niger, N Nigeria, and Chad, to Sudan and Eritrea on the east. It has more rainfall (8–16 in./20–40 cm) and better grazing lands than the Sahara, but it is periodically afflicted by droughts that reduce its normally meager water supply and shatter its grazing and agricultural economy. A particularly prolonged and devastating drought from 1967 to 1974 contributed to the starvation of of hundreds of thousands of people, and forced the mass migration southward of many others. Since the 1970s, the effects of climate change have been more pronounced in the central Sahel than many other areas, with average temperatures warming about twice as fast.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the narrow (320–480 km) band of semideserts and desert savannas in Africa that are transitional between the deserts of the Sahara and the characteristic topography of the Sudan. The Sahel stretches for more than 4 million sq km from Mauritania and Senegal in the west through Mali, Upper Volta, and Niger to Chad and the borders of the Sudan. The area of the Sahel varies from year to year, depending on the amount of annual precipitation (100–350 mm) in the north to 300–600 mm in the south). Rain falls in the summer for a period ranging from two or three weeks to three months, but 80 or 90 percent of the moisture evaporates. The Sahel is periodically subject to disastrous droughts, when virtually the entire area becomes uninhabitable desert; this was the case in 1941 and 1942 and from 1972 to 1975.

The northern Sahel has mostly sparse semidesert vegetation, such as turf grasses, shrubs, and low-growing trees, especially acacias. This region is inhabited by nomadic herders who raise cattle, sheep, and goats. In the southern Sahel, sparse thorn forests, groves of palms (doom and palmyra), and baobabs predominate. Nomads and communities of settled land cultivators live in the area, and millet and peanuts are grown.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A region having characteristics of a savanna or a steppe and bordering on a desert.
A strong dust-bearing desert wind in Morocco.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Au lieu d'intensifier la reponse humanitaire, de garantir la protection des civils et de prendre des engagements financiers fermes pour lutter contre les causes profondes de la faim et des inegalites au Sahel, les dirigeants du G7 ont lance un partenariat avec des partenaires africains qui met en avant leurs propres interets en matiere de strategie de securite, tandis que d'autres besoins urgents des civils presents dans la region ont ete une nouvelle fois mis de cote, a declare un communique publie par le CNR, lundi.
Nine soldiers serving with the regional G5 Sahel force were killed by an improvised explosive device in Mali early this month.
'We also going to be looking complementarily at the two security groupings, that is the G5 Sahel and of course the multinational joint task force that we have in fighting Boko Haram, so we can work together sharing intelligence.
The resort is the first phase of the Al Sahel development, to be complete within two years.
Ghanour's call came during the 6th meeting of the Ministerial Coordination Platform for Sahel Strategies which was held in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena on Thursday.
[beaucoup moins que]Conformement aux tres hautes instructions de Sa Majeste le Roi Mohammed VI, Que Dieu L'assiste, le Maroc est ici pour temoigner et de sa solidarite et de son engagement avec les pays du Sahel avec lesquels il entretient des liens multiseculaires, une cooperation multiforme et des relations multidimensionnelles[beaucoup plus grand que], a affirme le ministre a l'adresse des chefs d'Eetat et de gouvernement de l'Union europeenne et des pays du G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Tchad, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger), ainsi que des representants d'organisations internationales et d'autres pays concernes prenant part a cette conference co-presidee par l'UE, les Nations Unies, l'Union Africaine et le G5 Sahel.
Egyptian real estate developer Al Arabia Real Estate and Development (ARCO Egypt) is launching the first phase of its CityStars Al Sahel project, which will be built on 743 acres.
C'etait un point qui a ete souligne par beaucoup aujourd'hui et que l'UE partage entierement [beaucoup plus grand que], a-t-elle declare lors d'une conference de presse conjointe avec le ministre tchadien des Affaires etrangeres, Moussa Faki Mahamat, en marge de la reunion ministerielle UE-G5 Sahel a Bruxelles.
Summary: Le Drian says concern has now shifted to vast Sahel region, 'to make sure there is no upsurge (in terrorism).'
12 (SUNA) - The Chadian Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Sahel and Sahara Grouping, Musa Fekki, has underscored the importance of reactivating the role of the grouping and dedicating resources to meet the needs of the peoples of Africa, finding solutions for the problems of poverty and unemployment and realizing security and development in Africa.
UNITED NATIONS -- Pakistan has called on the international community to step up its efforts to mobilize resources for the implementation of UN Integrated Strategy for Africa's Sahel that sets out major national and regional development priorities aimed at stabilizing the region.