House Foreign Affairs Committee

Africa Subcommittee

The Sahel in Crisis: Examining U.S. Policy Options

HVC 210 Capitol Visitor Center
Tue, 05 Dec 2023 17:00:00 GMT

Subcommittee hearing.

  • Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Robert Jenkins, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization, U.S. Agency for International Development
Climate shocks – dangerously high temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and frequent droughts – exacerbate conflict by pushing people to herd, farm, or fish in areas controlled by violent extremists like Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), the Islamic State, and Boko Haram. This not only exacerbates vulnerability to climate but also reduces economic opportunities for youth, driving them into the arms of violent extremists who provide a crude semblance of stability and prosperity.
The recent coups and conflicts are primarily a result of the enormous challenges facing the Sahel, notably a weak tradition of democratic governance, an acute terrorist threat and insecurity, insufficient economic opportunities for the region’s young population, and climate-related water and land shortages, which contribute to food insecurity.