The Initiative

Research Initiative on the Sahel

A research project on the Sahel is necessary and urgent. The region is getting more and more unstable, as is the risk of seeing the number of failed and failing states increase. The sources of instability are complex. They include poverty, the effects of climate change and political violence. There are growing terrorist activities in the region. Great powers’ interventions tend to put emphasis on military solutions and counterinsurgency as exemplified by the creation of the US Africa Command in 2008 and France’s military presence in the region. The Global War on Terror, pursued as Contingency Operation under the current US Administration, has lasted for a decade now. But peace is still elusive and development insufficient to mitigate the needs of a growing population. Counterinsurgency, by its very nature, distorts relationships among people, as it tends to create mistrust in social interactions. Thus, traditional values such as trust, negotiation and collaborative problem solving embedded local cultures are being challenged and replaced by a culture of violence. If we don’t want to see the Sahel look like today’s Somalia or Afghanistan, it is urgent to find a different approach to the problems of the region.

This is the raison d’être of the International Consortium for Geopolitical Studies of the Sahel, Consortium International pour l’Etude de la Geopolitique du Sahel.

>> the Sahel and its Complexity (download pdf)

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