A panel discussion with experts from the Forum of Dialogue Sahel Europe (Universidad Francisco de Vitoria) and RUSI discuss the evolving security environment in the Sahel. Simultaneous interpretation into French will be available for this event.
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Over the past three years West Africa has experienced significant political, economic and security shocks. The fallout from Covid-19 restrictions, rising commodity prices and pressures linked to the war in Ukraine have been significant. These events have occurred against a backdrop of slow but genuine attempts at economic integration, growing inward investment and diplomatic confidence. At the same time, the entire continent has struggled with democratic backsliding, worsening violent conflict, population growth, migration, unemployment and pockets of radicalisation.
The Sahel has seen military takeovers in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Guinea in response to corruption and insecurity. Sanctions have followed. French forces left Mali and redeployed to Niger, and the UN is struggling as the territorial control of armed groups grows and actors including Turkey and Russia become more prominent. The movement of people and arms between Sahelian countries and Libya is significant. Failures to address terrorist actions early have spurred the growth of militias both in peripheral areas and destabilised neighbours. For the first time, West African littoral states, Benin and Togo have seen terrorist actions while Nigeria struggles with cross-border crime and terrorism. The panel will discuss what these challenges mean for the evolving security environment in the Sahel region and the role for external actors.
Chair: Mr Simon Rynn, RUSI ISS Senior Research Fellow for Africa
Dr Adib Bencherif, Professor at School of Applied Politics, University of Sherbrooke
Ms Binta Sidibe-Gascon, Vice-president of Observatoire KISAL
Mr Mohamed El Moctar Ag Mohamedoun, Expert in Conflict resolution at Institut Sahélien de Recherche et d’Analyse pour la Transformation du Conflit (TIRAC-Sahel)
Ms Beatriz de León Cobo: Director of Forum de Dialogue Sahel Europe (UFV), Conflict Advisor at First Call Partners
Senior Research Fellow, African Security