A U.N. envoy says up to 41 million young people in the Sahel region of Africa have bleak futures, making them susceptible to radicalization.

Hiroute Guebre Sellassie says young people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger "face hopelessness."

If nothing is done to increase education, employment and other opportunities for youths under age 25, Sellassie warned, the Sahel "will become a hub of mass migration, and of recruitment and training of terrorist groups and individuals."

Sellassie is the U.N. envoy to the Sahel, one of the world's poorest regions. She spoke to the Security Council on Wednesday.

Sellassie said governments in the region south of the Sahara are being forced to spend a significant percentage of their budgets to address growing security threats.