The Sahel is at a significant turning-point. The region’s evolving security situation has been marked by the military coups across the region and the French announcement to reshape Barkhane. The recent expulsion of the French Ambassador from Mali shows how much the relations between Mali and France have been deteriorating since the military seized power in August 2020 while the Russian parastatal Wagner Group is suspected to augment local forces in the region.
It has been almost ten years since the beginning of the security crisis in the Sahel. In the throes of multiple insurgencies, Sahelian countries and their foreign allies seem to be aware of the limits of military containment. While the international community is working on a new military roadmap, the publication of the report, “Sahel: Moving Beyond Military Containment” offers the opportunity to focus on development issues, too often undermined in the international agenda.
The Sahel is an African region stretching from Mauritania on the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea. Due to its arid climate, the region often suffers from droughts and is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change.
In December 2021, the launch of the report offered the opportunity to raise the development challenges in this area. Atlantic Council hosted the ministers of economy and/or development of the G5 Sahel (Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger-Burkina-Faso’s government was dissolved the day before) and the United Nations Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel to share their vision of the future of their region, from an economic sustainability, community development and human point of view. Donors can help by moving away from anti-terror kinetic operations towards civilian protection and social projects that better embed the state in local social relations and strengthen local communities in the face of difficult natural conditions.
Report Nov 4, 2021
What future for the Western Sahel?
By Richard Cincotta and Stephen Smith
The Western Sahel is in a demographic impasse. To work their way out of this dilemma, Sahelian governments must shift a significant part of their development focus and funding to policies and programs aimed at preventing adolescent marriages and childbearing, promoting girls’ education, securing women’s participation in public- and private-sector workplaces, and achieving small, healthy, well-educated families.
Report Nov 30, 2020
African agency in the new Cold War: Traditional power competition in the post-COVID-19 African landscape
By Bronwyn Bruton
In a resource-scarce post-COVID environment that will accelerate competition between traditional external powers on the African continent, some African nations will find themselves in the crosshairs of a new Cold War mentality that could threaten African agency, regionalization, and the blooming ethos of pan-Africanism. African leaders’ pursuit of collective interests will be decisive in setting the continent’s trajectory—toward a new African Century, or another period of thwarted ambitions.
Report May 14, 2021
Growing green: Catalyzing climate finance in African markets
By Emilie Bel
While African countries are the most impacted by the effects of climate change, the continent is home to an abundance of natural resources and vibrant economic prospects. To face the climate emergency, overcome the economic shock of COVID-19, and ensure that African economic development is sustainable, growth can only be green. However, tapping into Africa’s vast potential will require mobilizing billions in investment for infrastructure.
The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent.