We study the influence of interannual climate variability on the economy of several countries in the Sahel region. In the agricultural sector, we are able to identify coupled climate-economic modes that are statistically significant on interannual time scales. In particular, precipitation is a key climatic factor for agriculture in this semi-arid region. Locality and diversity characterize the Sahel's climatic and economic system, with the coupled climate-economic patterns exhibiting substantial differences from country to country. Large-scale atmospheric patterns — like the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and its quasi-biennial and quasi-quadrennial oscillatory modes — have quite limited influence on the economies, while more location-specific rainfall patterns play an important role.