The ECOWAS area facing the 2021 food and nutrition crisis

Published : June 2021

For the second consecutive year, several ECOWAS Member States are facing a major food and nutrition crisis. According to the March and June 2021 estimates of the Cadre harmonisé, at the beginning of the lean season 2021, the number of acutely-food insecure people in the ECOWAS area may reach 24.8 million people; nearly half of them are based in Nigeria (12.8 million). This represents a new peak for the ECOWAS area. Moreover, an additional 63 million people are currently “under pressure” (phase 2) and could fall into a crisis situation if appropriate measures are not taken. The nutrition situation remains precarious in most Sahelian countries due to limited access to health centres as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the security crisis. Vulnerable populations remain concentrated in the conflict-affected areas of northeastern Nigeria (4.3 million) and the Liptako-Gourma area (3.2 million). However, new food insecurity hotspots are emerging in the Gulf of Guinea, notably in Sierra Leone. In June-August 2021, Sierra Leone counts some 1.8 million acutely-food insecure people, with a prevalence rate of 22% or 1 in 5 people in need of urgent assistance. This tense food situation in the region is due to the collusion of the security and health crises, but is also impacted by socio-economic shocks. The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are hit hard by inflation. Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone recorded food price increases of over 40% compared to the five-year average due to the combined effects of inflation and the security and health crises. This socio-economic context has persisted for at least three years and is weakening vulnerable households’ livelihoods and their ability to access food.

Countries : Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, ECOWAS area, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

Scale : National, Regional (West Africa)

Langs : English

See also

Sahel and West Africa: Regional food and nutrition outlook


Sahel and West Africa: 42.5 million in crisis situation (phase 3-5) projection June-August 2023


Sahel and West Africa: 29.5 million people in crisis phase ( 3-5) March-May 2023


Sahel and West Africa: 28.9 million people in crisis phase ( 3-5) November-December 2022


Sahel and West Africa: 27.3 million of people in crisis phase ( 3-5), March-may 2022