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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (01-10 September 2020)

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Highlights

• So far (early September), good seasonal performance characterized West Africa region resulting widespread average to above average seasonal rainfall and rainfall deficits where occurred are mostly moderate (Mano rivers and Gulf of Guinea and Central Cameroon). In 2020, at this period, exceptionally, through the Sahel have prevailed well above average seasonal rainfall, even far western areas over northern Senegal and southern Mauritania where remained deficits during these past years ( 2019, 2018, 2017…). Recent heavy rainfall over Central Sahel and Senegal may lead to increase water level in the Niger River and its tributaries over central Mali which could reach their danger level and led to flooding in low-lying areas along northern Senegal and in the borders with Mauritania. Preliminary flood impact over Mali show that the most important exposed population to floods are located in the Inner Delta of the Niger River in Mali. A total of 139,424 people are exposed in these areas of which Djenne (40,964 people), Tenenkou (40,356 people), Youwarou (18,424 people), Niafunke (13, 203 people), Dire (16,098 people) and Niono (10,379 people).

• As a result of good seasonal rainfall performance markedly above average vegetation cover extends throughout the whole Sahel.
Given the ongoing widespread wetter than average conditions across the region much better vegetation condition is expected in far western areas (over Senegal and southern Mauritania). Water resources have been maintained at good level throughout the West African region due to ongoing favourable conditions.

• According to short-term forecasts, into a one-month rainfall analysis up to 30 September - It is likely that a improvement in the situation will occur over southern coastal areas of the region - rainfall deficits will likely be retrieved in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Southern (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria).

• According to 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 high 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 September–November 2020) indicate average to mostly near average condition in Sahel except Central Mali, Northern and SE Senegal, half western Mauritania and Burkina Faso. In the rest of the region, across the southern regions conditions will likely be below average to mostly near average except most of CAR, Southern Ghana and half northern Nigeria where average condition rainfall is expected. The two sets of forecasts are not currently consistent, with ECMWF being more pessimistic.