The Sahel region in West Africa is home to complex security and economic challenges. In the countries of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad), regional military and government initiatives are under increasing pressure to find solutions to rising insecurity, conflict, and internal displacement fueled by attacks from extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as well as the dramatic impacts of climate change. Despite international cooperation at the G5 Sahel level, the regional situation continues to worsen, with reports of conflict and displacement spreading further south and a spike in cases of community conflict. In 2019 alone, the number of newly, internally displaced people rose to over 1 million – a threefold increase from the previous year. COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges, leading to lost livelihoods and reduced access to basic services, while threatening to constrain economic growth for years to come.
While international attention on the Sahel overwhelmingly focuses on security, supporting local economies is crucial to encourage sustainable economic growth, private investment and the development of locally-led solutions to address regional insecurity. Faced with the mounting threat of conflict, as well as lockdowns and border closures due to COVID-19, SMEs are extremely vulnerable to the current multidimensional crisis in the Sahel region. CIPE has worked in the countries of the G5 Sahel for the past three years to better understand the relationship between private sector development and insecurity and is working with the Sahel Business Coalition to inform regional economic and security policy.
Please join us for a conversation with experts from across the Sahel for a panel discussion about the evolution of insecurity in the G5 Sahel, the impact on economic development, and opportunities for the private sector to support economic resilience across the region. The panel will be conducted in English.