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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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Nomadism and mobility in the Sahara-Sahel

Sahel and West Africa Club

In many respects, the current geopolitical context is similar to that of the early 1960s when countries in the Sahara-Sahelian areas were gaining independence; there are permeable borders, instability and “terrorism”, Touareg independence claims and rebellions, and investment in resource development. However, the current percentage of nomads in the region is much smaller. Urbanisation has exploded, and irrigated agriculture has improved. The business community has diversified, and drought is a recurring phenomenon (Bisson, 2003). As a result, the cultural and social life of nomadic groups has changed dramatically. They are now influenced by education, a cash economy, the workforce, industry and living in cities.

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