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African leaders’ presence at the G7 summit received mixed reactions. Was it a renewed model for the G7 based on an equal partnership with Africa, or were African countries simply decorative pieces meant to help G7 leaders clear their consciences? In this interview with Bakary Sambe from the Timbuktu Institute-African Centre for Peace Studies, published by Le Point Afrique, he notes that a large amount of the pledged development aid for the Sahel has not yet materialised and decries the lack of coherence. Read on
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The food economy has particularly strong potential to accelerate job creation, and should therefore attract greater policy attention. In order to unleash this potential, the food sector needs appropriate strategies, investments and policies. “This involves endorsing three key principles: 1) Moving beyond agriculture and rural areas; 2) Taking spatial factors into account; and 3) Dealing with informality, aiming for inclusiveness,” explain Léopold Ghins and Koffi Zougbédé from the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) in an article published on the OECD Development Matters blog. Read on
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The empowerment of girls and young women, promoted by a large number of development programmes and contraceptive awareness-raising campaigns, face many barriers that are rooted in local, societal and religious norms. “These deeply rooted resistances should not be underestimated”, explains Assiatou Diarra, a doctor and anthropologist from Niger in an article published by Le Monde diplomatique. Read on
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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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