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In transition from the Sahara Desert, but still dry region of Africa, the Sahel stretches across the continent. Its countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somaliland and Sudan. Its name comes from an Arabic language word for "edge of the desert".

Traditionally, many of the residents are nomadic pastoralists. Some of its countries have oil; the landlocked countries need pipelines to ocean coasts. Initiatives include an fiber optic trans-Sahel network.