Recent violence in Mali, Niger and the Central African Republic have left hundreds dead in recent weeks. But the United States’ envoy to the Sahel region says there is hope in the West African region, as several nations have recently held peaceful polls, with more elections to come in 2021. The top U.S. envoy to Africa’s Sahel region acknowledges that it has been a rough few weeks in the sprawling desert region — which covers the West African nations of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The region is beset by a wave of deadly violence from extremist groups, with more than 1,000 violent incidents in the first half of 2020, according to a report from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. But he quickly added there is cause for hope, as Niger heads to a second round of presidential elections in February. “We have congratulated the people of Niger who exercised their democratic right to vote in their presidential and legislative elections on December 27th and look forward to observing an equally successful run-off presidential election process on February 21st. These elections hold the promise of Niger’s historic first peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected president to another,” he said.