SWAC/OECD at the Munich Security Conference

At the invitation of the Munich Security Conference, the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) launched its report, “The Geography of Conflict in North and West Africa,” during a side event on 14 February 2020. It is the first time that the SWAC Secretariat has taken part in the world’s leading forum for debating international security issues, an important step towards raising its profile and the visibility of its analytical work. In his opening statement, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría highlighted the increasing complexity of political violence in North and West Africa. As the geography of conflict is changing, military interventions struggle to create long-term stability. The SWAC report “is an essential contribution to better understand the current situation in North and West Africa, a global security hotspot and a region confronted by the resurgence of violent extremist activity,” Angel Gurría said. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to the African Union - a panelist at the launch event, stressed the need for strengthening multilateral responses to regional or cross-border threats. She particularly emphasised the links between the Libyan crisis and the Sahelian and West African conflict dynamics. Indeed, a simple focus on one country alone, or even a smaller set of states, fails to grasp the essential nature of this shifting political violence. The report thus calls upon states in the region and the international community to promote regional initiatives to restore state legitimacy, increase investment in border regions and improve civilian protection. With its new spatial indicator of political violence designed to assess the long-term evolution of conflicts, the SWAC/OECD Secretariat aims to enrich the global security agenda and provide informed qualitative and quantitative analyses.

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Keynote address by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

As a complement to this work, a paper on “Women and Conflicts in West Africa” was recently published in the OECD West African Papers series.