Long term trends across security and development in the Sahel


The most recent West African Paper, prepared by Daniel Eizenga, research fellow of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, offers a broad overview of the current security-development situation in the Sahel. It analyses three central themes - poverty, migration and conflict -  adopting a historical perspective to examine long-term trends in the region. The paper includes an analysis of the costs of security-based solutions. The author recommends paying continued attention to the political and economic ramifications. “The over-determined focus on terrorism and violent religious extremism risks ignoring the failings of regional governments to provide the public goods needed by their citizens and in turn perpetuating, or exacerbating, the root causes of conflict in the region,” Eizenga explains. “Since the securitisation of the response to the challenges posed by insecurity and underdevelopment in the Sahel, trends toward authoritarian and autocratic rule have emerged in Niger and become increasingly entrenched in Chad. Increased policing and security will also translate into increased economic costs, potentially undermining regional promises on development, and incentivising actors to engage in the political economy of conflict,” explains the author. On the other hand, much more support is needed to sustain a functioning justice system and support the rule of law throughout the Sahel. “Failure to do so will result in continued momentum for terrorism in the region, exacerbating insecurity and limiting any attempts to improve development,” the author concludes.