West African Papers

The West African Papers series explores African socio-economic, political and security dynamics from a regional and multidisciplinary perspective. It seeks to stimulate discussion and gather information to better anticipate the changes that will shape future policies. The series is designed for a wide audience of specialists, development practitioners, decision makers and the informed public. Papers are available in English and/or French, and summaries are available in both languages. Initiated by the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) to highlight and promote West African issues, the work presented is prepared by its Secretariat, Members and partners, other OECD departments, related international organisations, associated experts and researchers.

English Also available in: French

Wars and Conflicts in the Sahara-Sahel

The Sahel and the Sahara are faced with exceptional political instability involving a combination of rebellions, jihadist insurgencies, coups d’état, protest movements and illegal trafficking. The backdrop to this accumulated violence is a globalised security environment, which blurs the traditional lines between what is local and global, military and civilian, domestic and international, politics and identity. The purpose of this paper is to analyse these patterns of violence. The first section presents the geographic distribution and development over time of the main sources of violence in North and West Africa before examining the events behind the increase in political violence in the Sahel and the Sahara. The second section analyses the patterns of violence, and focuses on the geographic scales thereof and the strategies of the warring parties. In its conclusion, the paper highlights the need to strengthen regional co-operation, restore the legitimacy of governments, and establish inclusive governance solutions in conflict zones.

English Also available in: French

Keywords: Sahara, jihadism, Sahel, terrorism, conflict, war, security
JEL: D74: Microeconomics / Analysis of Collective Decision-Making / Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions; F5: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy; H56: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Security and War; N47: Economic History / Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation / Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Africa; Oceania
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