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This op-ed by Archie Matheson, published on the African Arguments blog, suggests that the intra-African trade benefits of the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will take time and might be much less significant than thought. “Therefore, it is imperative that the project does not detract energy and resources from initiatives that are having more immediate impacts on intra-African trade and economic growth,” the author concludes. Read on
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This op-ed, published on the IPI Global Observatory, by Jorge Moreira da Silva, OECD director of the Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) and Eric Rosand, director of the Prevention Project and Brookings non-resident senior fellow, calls upon governments and development partners to develop a new approach to development that prioritizes prevention. A stronger focus on prevention will require “a much more coherent effort among political, security, development, humanitarian and peace actors—recognizing that the challenges in fragile contexts are too big and too complex for one set of actors to tackle alone,” explain the authors. Read on
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In this interview, published by Le Point Afrique, EU Special Representative for the Sahel Angel Losada analyses the unstable situation in the Sahel. 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. Read on
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The French RFI radio programme “7 milliards de voisins” (7 billion neighbours) dedicated a special edition to the “The war against schools in the Sahel.” Several hundred schools in conflict-affected areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have been closed due to the permanent threat of jihadist attacks. How can communities prevent armed groups from breaking into schools? How can ensure that children in these conflict-affected areas going to school? How can international partners help rebuild educational services? SWAC Secretariat Director Laurent Bossard shared his viewpoints. Read on
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The number of women seeking divorces is increasing overall in West Africa. “Frustrated by their husbands’ inability to earn a living, and in a society where basic views on relationships have changed, women are asserting more control over their marriages,” explains Dionne Searcey, West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times. Her article offers a series of testimonies from women’s divorce cases. While divorce does not always have a positive outcome, it is a sign that women know their rights and are demanding respect and happiness in their marriages. Read on
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In this interview by Défis humanitaires, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, ambassador and France’s special envoy for the Sahel, takes stock of the security situation in the Sahel and analyses the key challenges facing the region. This interview provides a detailed explanation of the French government’s 3D concept - diplomacy, defense and development - which Châtaigner makes 4D by adding “droit” or law and advocating for a rights-based approach. Read on
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The essential role played by farmers’ organisations in West Africa has been recognised, notably within the new ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Policy. However, “The omnipresence of agribusiness reminds us that the fight to be fought is not yet won,” recalls SOS Sahel in an opinion piece, which identifies several areas to address. First and foremost, it will be important to strengthen the involvement of women and young people. Read on
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This analysis from Matthieu Pellerin at the French research institute IFRI focuses on security issues along the Niger-Libya border. Since 2011, security initiatives have been mostly externally driven, even as they responded to the government of Niger’s demands to secure its borders against jihadist attacks. Never before has the Sahel region been so highly militarised. However, the heavy presence of external security forces may be negatively affecting the interests of local communities. Most efforts are solely focused on border control without any long-term vision about how to help this fragile area develop and become more stable. Read on
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Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta won the run-off election on 16 August and will now start a second term. Against a backdrop of violence, crisis and instability, can President Keïta bring about the changes needed for a lasting peace? This opinion piece from the SWAC/OECD Secretariat suggests that the government should refocus its attention on northern Mali to make it once again a central and shared space that is more than just the “north of Mali. Read on
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In this interview, Samia Nkrumah, daughter of the father of Ghana’s independence, calls for the political unification of Africa. The political unity of Africa is a prerequisite to facilitating its economic integration. “If the 20th century was the century of independence, the 21st century must be the century of Africa’s unification.” Read on

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