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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (20-31 July 2020)

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• Overall July provided respite and offset early season dryness. Due to much improved rainfall since late June, above average to average rainfall are now widespread in west Africa. Sahel region benefited more favorable conditions and westmost areas are the wettest. This also has resulted in rising Niger river levels and led to flooding in the Niger River basin of Niger and part of Mali. However in Mano river countries over western Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire remain below average seasonal rainfall.

• As a result of much improved rainfall, vegetation cover started recover throughout the whole Sahel - In many places, here and there much better conditions are observed. Availability of water resources remain satisfactory throughout the West African region.

• Short-term forecasts into a one month rainfall analysis to mid-August indicate that drier than average conditions will spread across the half coastal western and southern of the region (from Mauritania – Senegal to Cameroon extended in CAR) while opposite region across the Sahel from central Mali, NE Burkina across Niger into Chad will likely be above average.– If the forecasts are realized, early deficit will continue to be alleviated in most of Sahel except the westmost areas and can bring unfavourable conditions for gulf Guineas and mano rivers countries.

• According PRESASS seasonal forecasts update in July, above average rainfall is expected in Sahelian countries for the period July-August-September while rainfall amounts will be concentrated in the mid - season between mid-July and August. It emerges, the dry spells should be longer to normal over most Sudan-Sahelian belt in the second half of the season, including the heading, flowering and the crops ripening phases with strong probabilities of late to normal end of season in agricultural areas of Sahelian countries except far northern Senegal, western Mali and the agricultural areas of Mauritania.

• However, ECMWF forecasts (for August–October 2020) point to below-average rainfall in the Sahel region over Northern and eastern Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina, Niger and half northern Chad. In the southern regions conditions will likely be average to mostly near average except most of Cameroun, Sierra Leone, Liberia and pockets over Central Nigeria, Northern Ghana and north-western Cote d’Ivoire where Below-average rainfall is expected. The two sets of forecasts are not particularly consistent at the moment, with ECMWF being more pessimistic.