Long-term monitoring of the ecological environment changes is helpful for the protection of the ecological environment. Based on the ecological environment of the Sahel region in Africa, we established a remote sensing ecological index (RSEI) model for this region by combining dryness, moisture, greenness, and desertification indicators. Using the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data in Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform, this study analyzed the ecological environment quality of the Sahel region during the period of 2001–2020. We used liner regression and fluctuation analysis methods to study the trend and fluctuation of RSEI, and utilized the stepwise regression approach to analyze the contribution of each indicator to the RSEI. Further, the correlation analysis was used to analyze the correlation between RSEI and precipitation, and Hurst index was applied to evaluate the change trend of RSEI in the future. The results show that RSEI of the Sahel region exhibited spatial heterogeneity. Specifically, it exhibited a decrease in gradient from south to north of the Sahel region. Moreover, RSEI in parts of the Sahel region presented non-zonal features. Different land-cover types demonstrated different RSEI values and changing trends. We found that RSEI and precipitation were positively correlated, suggesting that precipitation is the controlling factor of RSEI. The areas where RSEI values presented an increasing trend were slightly less than the areas where RSEI values presented a decreasing trend. In the Sahel region, the areas with the ecological environment characterized by continuous deterioration and continuous improvement accounted for 44.02% and 28.29% of the total study area, respectively, and the areas in which the ecological environment was changing from improvement to deterioration and from deterioration to improvement accounted for 12.42% and 15.26% of the whole area, respectively. In the face of the current ecological environment and future change trends of RSEI in the Sahel region, the research results provide a reference for the construction of the ''Green Great Wall'' (GGW) ecological environment project in Africa.