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The sahel is the semiarid zone forming the southern margin of the Sahara Desert, stretching 4,500 kilometers across Africa. It includes parts of Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and the Sudan, and commonly includes parts of the Cape Verde Islands. The word means “shore” or “border” in Arabic. The Sahelian countries are some of the world's poorest. In addition, the Sahel has a rapidly increasing population of over 50 million people. It has been important as a region of settlement and movement for millennia, but it was the environmental emergency of droughts and famine in the 1970s and 1980s that has brought it to the world's attention.

The Sahel usually receives more than 150 millimeters and less than 500–700 millimeters ...

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