In the Sahel, the vacuum left by the state is fanning the flames of terrorism
In this interview, published by Le Point Afrique, EU Special Representative for the Sahel Angel Losada analyses the unstable situation in the Sahel. “There are hundreds of Sahels,” he explained. Losada distinguishes three types of Sahel: 1) the geographic Sahel, covering a land strip of 1 800 km and 5 million square kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea across 11 or 12 countries; 2) the institutional Sahel, created in 2014 by the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger); and 3) the geostrategic Sahel, covering the broader Maghreb-Sahel-West Africa region, and also involving regional and international organisations. Losada commended the political will of G5 Sahel countries in finding their own solutions to combat terrorism. He also spoke about the need for better international response co-ordination. “We have a problem of co-ordination: there are 16 or 17 strategies for the Sahel. That is good because it shows an increasing interest in the region. The European Union was the first to define a dedicated Sahel strategy and remains the region’s main donor, especially thanks to the support of Federica Mogherini. However, there is a real risk of duplication. We need strong leadership to co-ordinate these efforts,” he declared.