West Africa

Research focuses on changing governance dynamics, regional foreign and security policy, and security and counterterrorism policy.

Chatham House convening and research focuses on social norms and anti-corruption programming in Nigeria; cross-border conflict and smuggling across West Africa as part of the XCEPT research programme; rethinking the response to jihadist groups in the Central Sahel; and artisanal mining and resource governance across West Africa.



Countries in West Africa and the Sahel are facing a mixed outlook of expanding prosperity and innovation on one hand, and escalating hardship and insecurity on the other.

Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire for example – two of the region’s fastest-growing economies – have continued to experience consistently strong growth, while other countries, particularly in the Sahel region, are facing increasingly dire regional security and governance challenges.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has historically maintained a strong record of regional norm-setting on governance and democracy.

Yet the regional bloc now faces significant challenges in how to reorient its role and credibility amid a rise in military and ‘constitutional’ coups since 2020, and how to navigate relations with military leadership regimes in the region.