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An Atlas of the Sahara-Sahel

Geography, Economics and Security

image of An Atlas of the Sahara-Sahel

The Sahara-Sahel has seen recurrent episodes of instability. However, the recent Libyan and Malian crises have intensified the level of violence. These episodes have restructured the geopolitical and geographical dynamics of the region. Cross-border or regional, these contemporary crises require new institutional responses. How can countries sharing this space -  Algeria, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Tunisia and all related states such as Nigeria - stabilize and develop?

Historically, the Sahara plays an intermediary role between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Commercial and human exchanges are intense and based on social networks that now include trafficking. Understanding their structure, geographical and organizational mobility of criminal groups and migratory movements represents a strategic challenge. This book hopes to address this challenge and stimulate strategies for the Sahel of the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union or ECOWAS (Economic Community of the States of West Africa) in order to foster lasting peace.

The Atlas is based on an analysis of mapped regional security issues and development objectives to open the necessary dialogue between regional and international organizations, governments, researchers and local stakeholders tracks.

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Ancient and new mobility in the Sahara-Sahel

Sahel and West Africa Club

The Sahara is an ancient site of trade, having been criss-crossed and structured by the movement of caravans since the Middle Ages. Its importance waned, however, during the colonial era, when attention shifted to the maritime trade routes connecting West and North Africa with the European continent. Following independence, individual states developed ties with each other, most notably in the 1990s, when Libya strengthened its policies towards Sahelian countries and Maghreb leaders sought to build economic relationships with their neighbours. Yet while this area defined by mobility is indeed shared by many, it cannot be described as “common” from an economic point of view.

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