Conflict with non-state armed groups in the Sahel continues to spiral, with over 6,600 civilians killed between October 2019 and October 2020 in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali alone and more than two million people forcibly displaced across the region, according to UN estimates.
Responding to the threat of armed insurgents has drawn in regional militaries under the G5 Sahel grouping, the French-led international intervention Operation Barkhane, and a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which includes around 300 British troops deployed as of December 2020.
Yet the deepening crisis raises questions about the effectiveness of hard-edged counterterrorism responses to decisively break the cycle of conflict. In a region acutely vulnerable to drought, food insecurity, intercommunal tensions and displacement, made worse by poor governance and impunity, durable solutions may lie in strengthening human security and the state-society social contract rather than military action.
At this event, which launches a new Chatham House Africa Programme research paper, speakers discuss the scale and drivers of the deepening crisis in the Sahel, and potential options to rethink current approaches and move towards reversing the trajectory of conflict.
This event will be broadcast live on the Chatham House Africa Programme Facebook page.
Dr Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, Senior Researcher, Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement (IRD); Author, Rethinking the Response to Jihadist Groups Across the Sahel
HE Ambassador Sidya Ould Elhadj, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the United Kingdom
Rigmor Elianne Koti, Special Representative for the Sahel, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Chair: Dr Alex Vines OBE, Director, Africa Programme; Managing Director, Risk, Ethics and Resilience, Chatham House