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Overview

In recent decades, world attention has been drawn to various areas of Africa affected by natural disasters. The most prevalent have been prolonged droughts and their devastating effects on the people in these precarious, underdeveloped economies. Response to these crises usually involve food airlifts to avert immediate disaster, but there exist few permanent programs designed to avoid drought-related losses.

Sahel: Documents and Dissertations documents one cooperative effort in existence among eight independent nations along a 2,600-mile strip of West Africa known as the Sahel. In 1973, the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS, after the French initials) was formed by the governments of six countries most affected by a severe drought--Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Upper Volta (Burkina), Niger, and Chad. The countries of Gambia and Cape Verde joined later in coordinating planning efforts to avoid repeated drought-related disasters.

Researchers in African studies, agricultural economics, and socio-economics will discover more than 1,000 documents and dissertations that report on the agricultural, economic, and socio-economic changes in the Sahel region during and after the drought. This material--one of the only compilations of its kind in existence--provides fertile ground for studies of the effects of disasters on unstable economies. It also offers a model for an analysis of international cooperative efforts in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

Featured are publications from African governments, research funded by AID (U.S. Agency for International Development), dissertations, theses, and reports from the United Nations CILSS, Club du Sahel, and other international agencies. Nearly half of the collection is in English, half is in French, and two documents are in Portuguese.

Titles in the collection are arranged by country, including informative profiles for each of the eight nations. A separate section covers the Sahel region overall. Nine hundred of the documents were selected by Dr. Joseph Lauer from Michigan State University's Sahel Documentation Center, one of the world's leading libraries of agriculture economic materials on the Sahel. The remaining 100 are American doctoral dissertations selected by Dr. Lauer from UMI's® dissertation database.

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