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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (2021 Season) - July Update, 2021

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• As of late July, the early stages of the core period of the rainy season in West Africa continue to be characterised by variable conditions and the deficits persist in the western parts of the region (northern and western Senegal and most of Mauritania) as well as in western Guinea, Sierra Leone and north-western Liberia. Below average rains are also noticeable over southern and central Nigeria and southern Cameroon. The eastern Sahel benefited from more favourable condition with above average rainfall over Niger and Chad. July provides respite and rainfall improvement has offset deficits in many areas over the Sahel (particularly over eastern Sahel in Niger, Nigeria and Chad)

• Overall, the rainy season has so far (between 1 April and 31 July), been characterised by variable conditions across the region. Rainfall deficits mainly affected the westernmost areas of the region (Mauritania, northern and western Senegal, western Guinea, Guinea Bissau). Furthermore, in the coastal areas of the Gulf of Guinea, below average rainfall was recorded, namely in southern Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, western and southern Nigeria. In contrast, seasonal rainfall is average to above average over the eastern Sahel in Niger and Chad. Rainfall is also above average in the arid regions of northern Mali, Niger and Chad. As a result, drier than average conditions persist across the westernmost parts of the region, although better rains towards the end of the month brought improvements in the eastern Sahel ( Nigeria and Chad). Southern and central Nigeria and southern Cameroon, as well as western Guinea, Sierra Leone and north-western Liberia, experienced unfavourable conditions. Early rainfall deficits have had an significant impact on the vegetation conditions that are currently below average in most of the region. Below normal vegetation conditions are currently recorded in a wide area over the western parts of the region (eastern and western Senegal, south-western Mali and southern Mauritania), in southwestern Burkina Faso, southern Niger and particularly in central Nigeria as well as central Chad. Above average vegetation can be seen in the northern part of the Sahel (northern and central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, Niger, as well as north-eastern Nigeria and northern and southern Chad with favourable vegetation conditions in Mali, Niger and southern Chad.

• According to short-term forecasts covering the period until 20 August 2021, an improvement of seasonal rains will likely observed with wetter than normal conditions across most of West Africa. The Sahel will likely benefit from more favourable conditions and receive above normal rains except western Senegal . However, coastal areas in the southern parts of West Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, southern Benin, southern Togo, southern Nigeria) as well as southern Cameroon will be drier than average.

• According to the PRESASS 2021 seasonal forecast June Update, average to above average seasonal rainfall (in June-August 2021) is expected over most of the Sahelian and Sudanian belt, except for the coastal areas of southern Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone. These conditions are associated with an early to normal onset of seasonal rains in the western parts of the region (Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, western Mali and western Burkina Faso), and normal to late in the eastern sector (eastern Burkina Faso, Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad) and long to medium dry spells throughout most of the region. This could mean that the region might be affected by more irregular and extreme rainfall during the 2021 season, with an increased risk of prolonged dry spells affecting crop development, and intense rainfall leading to floods.