Roundup of Recent Reports and Articles on or Relevant to the Sahel

Deutsche Welle, “Les putschistes en échec face aux djihadistes,” 30 May 2022. A look at data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project, providing evidence that the juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso are performing poorly against jihadist groups and very poorly at protecting (i.e., not victimizing) civilians.

Conflict Armament Research, “Weapons Supplies Fuelling Terrorism in the Lake Chad Crisis,” May 2022. The report concentrates on data from the Diffa Region, southeastern Niger. An excerpt (p. 8):

JAS- and ISWAP-affiliates appear to have acquired a significant proportion of their weaponry opportunistically and within their area of operation, including through battlefield capture and raids on military and security force outposts, mainly between 2013 and 2019. A smaller proportion of the documented materiel was initially diverted from sources located thousands of miles from Niger, such as the Rwandan national arsenal, and there is minimal evidence of long-range trafficking support for armed groups fighting in the Lake Chad conflict.

Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network, “Shifting from External Dependency: Remodelling the G5 Sahel Joint Force for the Future,” June 2022. The authors consider four options for the future of the force. A key excerpt:  

The authors of this report believe that a scaled-up and reconfigured G5 Sahel Joint Force (G5 Sahel Plus) option (discussed below) would have been the optimal model. However, following the recent withdrawal of Mali from the G5S-JF and the deteriorating political landscape in the region and between states, the authors’ reassessment calls for an AU Peace Enforcement mission as the most appropriate, given the current situation. It is important to note, the recommendations provided in this report hinge on the ability of the current and former G5S-JF states to address and resolve the deteriorating political situation, which is fluid in nature and continuously evolving. This will require all states (current and former G5S-JF) to recognise that they need each other to address these challenges, and that any reconfiguration (the models provided in this report) depends on the political situation being fully addressed. There is a need, as the models indicate, to have more joint efforts between the AU and ECOWAS to assist in resolving the current impasses in the region. 

For my own part I think the G5 Sahel Joint Force will never live up to the hopes that have been placed upon it.

Frances Brown, “Governance for Resilience: How Can States Prepare for the Next Crisis?” Carnegie Endowment, May 2022. An excerpt (p. 2):

An overarching insight from the evidence is that governance for resilience is complex and often multidirectional. Several characteristics, such as decentralization, have an ambiguous effect on resilience: they enable a country to withstand some setbacks but leave it more vulnerable in other ways. Still other characteristics—including whether a country is a democracy or an authoritarian political system—do not appear have a clear-cut effect on resilience. In contrast, a few governance “super-factors”—such as control of corruption, societal trust, and high quality political leadership—are exceptionally powerful in enabling a country to augment its resilience through multiple pathways.

The World Bank, “Mali Economic Update, April 2022: Resilience in Uncertain Times – Renewing the Social Contract.” I didn’t find much in here that was imaginative or original, but here is one excerpt (pp. 38-39):

Inclusion should be at the center of development policies. The emergence of violent conflicts in the Sahel is primarily associated with exclusion, inequalities, and concerns about marginalization. Some categories of so-called “floating” populations, whose social or economic status is fragile and whose ties with the State are weaker – nomadic peoples, minorities, excluded youth – are particularly vulnerable to these risks and to engaging in violence through self-defense groups, rebellions, or violent extremist groups. Inclusion covers both territorial inclusion, which requires correcting imbalances in economic opportunities, access to services, and access to justice and security in different parts of a single country, within a single territorial entity or even the neighborhoods of a single town (urban ghetto phenomenon). It also refers to the inclusion of different groups – notably women and “floating” populations – within a single territory through the adequate targeting of public policies and development projects. This could involve, for example making sure local development policies are protective of both farmers and pastoralist groups livelihoods.

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