The resilience of populations and the importance of (very localised) governance in the Sahel.

The case of center and northern Mali.

Mali is today the epicentre of the great Sahelian crisis around which regional governments, the international community, donors, diplomats, researchers, journalists and humanitarian actors are mobilising. The multi-dimensional crisis, which mainly affects the most vulnerable and most isolated Malian populations, is continuously fuelling the root causes of a withdrawal of the State and an almost total abandonment of the population. These populations are thus left to informal activities and humanitarian assistance as the only “lifeline” in a context where insecurity and criminality are also undermining existing social equilibrium.

Between displacement and resettlement, food and nutrition crises, the closure of schools and health centres, and the flight from official authorities due to the lack of security, the populations of the north of the country, and later those of the centre, have sometimes found themselves in autarky, reinventing their modes of local governance, either under pressure from armed groups, or as a result of a form of freedom regained in the absence of any normative presence of the state.

Such a configuration highlights the tremendous resilience capacity of communities, which it is important to better understand, particularly by clearly identifying the limits at which external assistance becomes vital, while taking into account the continuous changes and developments to which these communities are exposed.

The term “resilience” is used generically according to its most common definition, which refers to “the return to normal of a territory or society following a shock or disruption” (Dauphiné and Provitolo, 2003; Paquet, 1999). The definition used here is that of Groupe URD, which refers more precisely to “the capacity of people to anticipate, adapt to and recover from crises”.

The KEY programme (“being upright” in the Songhaï language) is part of several strategies and visions, including Mali’s priorities established within the framework of the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR) in the Sahel and West Africa. The latter aims to strengthen the resilience of Sahelian and West African countries in the face of recurrent food and nutrition crises, based on the premise that these crises can and must be eradicated.

While emergency responses remain a necessity, the premise of these strategies is that a focus on “the root causes of crises will eventually lead to a reduction in their number and cost”. AGIR defines resilience as “the capacity of vulnerable households, families and systems to cope with uncertainty and the risk of shocks, to withstand and respond effectively to those shocks, and to recover and adapt to them in a sustainable manner”.

©Hamada (Wandey) AG AHMED

Population resilience: a concept that must become a human reality

One of the primary indicators of success is determined by the number of vulnerable people benefiting from access to basic social services (health, education, water, sanitation, hygiene) and by the improvement of their capacity to increase their income.

Sahelian countries and donors have adopted the following principle: food and nutritional security concern induce the necessity to no longer dissociate humanitarian aid in times of crisis from the more structural action aimed at combating endemic poverty and undernutrition.

From a practical point of view, the European Union (through the ETF – Emergency Trust Fund – and the EDF – European Development Fund) has provided resources to the tune of €40 million in the form of funding for the KEY programme with the general objective of contributing to the resilience of vulnerable populations faced with food and nutrition insecurity in the six regions of northern and central Mali by working on 4 pillars combined:

  • Nutritional care focused on children under 5 years old at the community level;
  • Cash transfers to the most vulnerable in connection with the lean season;
  • Reinforcement of household means of economic production;
  • And, finally, governance via support to local authorities (mayors, prefects, technical services and regional bodies) in a context where their presence is so threatened by men-at-arms that many have no choice but to take refuge in the large urban centres.

It is in this context that Groupe URD was asked to support the actors as a “third party” responsible for learning, coordination support and agility or “adaptive management” of the programme as a whole. Contextual monitoring and the analysis of the programme through capitalisation studies and iterative evaluation processes opened up new perspectives for reflection in order to “go further” in improving the relevance of the interventions. Among these, the first is the observation that the resilience of an individual or a community, hitherto measured economically, cannot be dissociated from local governance, participation factors and the quality of social-political relations within and between communities.

If we retain that good resilience is the capacity to withstand a shock by using resources to reach – or even surpass – the previous situation, it should also be noted that part of the population was already subject before the 2012 crisis to repetitive climatic shocks that the security situation simply increased in intensity and recurrence by seriously affecting the capacity of households to consume.

For some authors, resilience is moreover measured by the index of consumption and production of material goods. However, in a context of human and community confrontations, as in northern and central Mali, it also seems to be determined by a factor that is rarely measured: the quality of inter- and intra-community relations and, consequently, the population’s capacity to manage tensions and create a form of stability.

These relations are nevertheless measurable, notably on the basis of the number of incidents between individuals, their nature, the depth of their direct or indirect causes, and also the existence and effectiveness of mechanisms or moral entities legitimately recognised and accepted as such to serve as a lever for mediation and conflict prevention. This should be a direct and concrete link with the “new operational approach” which recommends consolidating the links between humanitarian, development, diplomatic, military and security initiatives, grouped under the expression “triple nexus” in which the Sahel countries are engaged.

©Hamada (Wandey) AG AHMED

Societal decomposition-recomposition and antagonisms linked to limited resources

At the level of the institutional scheme, the decentralisation implemented in the 1990s opened the door to an institutional master plan inspired by the French model where central government, region, circle, sub-prefecture, commune and village (or fraction) are the legally recognised top-down entities representing the descent and ascendancy through which the interaction between development actors and populations should ultimately pass.

The most local scale of this scheme, the scarcity of resources and a lack of vigilance on the part of political actors have led the populations to split up more and more into autonomous ‘sites’. Each initially homogenous geographical entity was registered in several fractions, each holding a legal act of constitution issued by the authorities.

This population strategy aims to reduce the risks of their exclusion in terms of targeting and to limit the impact of misappropriation at higher levels, but at the same time it multiplies the number of sites to be covered and the people to be contacted. It also poses problems with administrative standards and the practices of development actors: a newly constituted extended family settling 10 km from its site of origin thus wants to claim a school, a borehole and a health centre on the same basis as a village of 5,000 people with the sole aim of turning the dividends into a family income-generating activity to the detriment of the rest of the geographical community.

When it comes to targeting the most vulnerable, scales are multiplied and individualities often take precedence over the notion of community: “nobody represents anybody in reality”. Interests and antagonisms’ guide individuals to the detriment of the social ties usually agreed upon as the basis for defining a community.

In addition to these elements, there are criteria for affiliation (or not) to a political party, a wider social group, or even an armed group, which encourage the multiplication of ‘arrangements’ with aid intermediaries (actors, traditional or state authorities, etc.), develop a form of brokering via local actors – intermediaries sometimes created to measure – and revive new competition between communities in terms of access to basic services but also new ambitions for political representativeness.

This connection between political representativeness and instrumentalisation (or appropriation of basic services by individuals or groups of individuals) is not without impact on social relations and the degradation of good local governance. Consequently, it leads to injustice, conflict and instability.

Between the needs of populations to access basic services and their capacity to control their total management at the most decentralised level of the state, other ‘actors’ are trying to infiltrate. The motivations and challenges are in fact multiple: political ambitions of personalities from these communities, lack of vision and sometimes corruption of state agents, armed movements in the race for legitimacy to become significant interlocutors in the framework of the Algiers Agreements (signed between Mali and the armed groups of the North), radical groups seeking support and relays to better establish themselves, etc. The populations have therefore become “actors and victims”, “instrumentalized” and “instrumentalizing” at the same time.

These different elements explain the complexity of the context and the difficulties for international humanitarian and development actors to find an effective formula to achieve the objectives in terms of the resilience of the most vulnerable populations, but also to respect the “do no harm” principle while guaranteeing optimal conditions in terms of accountability.

During our analyses and evaluations, we often identify “weak signals”, including accusations of aid diversion, particularly in relation to cash transfers, school canteens or the salaries of teachers or nurses who are considered by the population to be “fictitious”. These accusations are particularly made against the “intermediaries” who make the decisional link with the populations.

Even if the context is favourable to a form of omerta preventing the production of indisputable evidence, we have nevertheless observed that these charges oscillate between reality and, at times, attempts to discredit “the other”. This logic of competition in terms of access to resources can be coupled with another social strategy for redistributing wealth (distribution according to criteria specific to communities – different from those of humanitarian actors and in their absence) which can be analysed as an “internal reorientation in relation to the objective of the projects” which does not necessarily produce “illicit enrichment”.

Vaccination of herd ©Hamada (Wandey) AG AHMED

Governance and accountability “by” and “for” beneficiary populations

However, most programmes integrate a “governance” dimension as a vertical pillar or cross-cutting activity but take little account of the need for intra-community governance as a starting point and the main factor of success or failure, which is totally independent of the technical expertise deployed.

Complex realities at the heart of this accountability converge individual interests, collective stakes, rigid frameworks and local participation, posing challenges for the integration of people’s visions in local development plans. Why not a “right to good governance” as an inalienable right of the citizen?

Activities related to governance mainly concern traditional development structures and actors: administration, technical services, NGOs, associations, technical and financial partners. At the level of local authorities, there are three types of structures: the Communal Committee for the Orientation, Coordination and Monitoring of Development Actions (CCOCMDA), the Local Committee for the Orientation, Coordination and Monitoring of Development Actions (LCOCMDA), and the Regional Committee for the Orientation, Coordination and Monitoring of Development Actions (RCOCMDA), which constitute the structural framework around which activities to strengthen and support local governance are organised (common, circle and regional levels).

However, in the Malian and more generally Sahelian context, with the major crisis of confidence that exists between the populations and everything that represents the State, we have nevertheless noticed that participation in consultation frameworks and local political bodies (motivation to be a member of the boards) can often be linked to personal agendas with the aim of social, political, security or financial ascension, with the interest of the communities being relegated to the background.

On the one hand, these mechanisms have little reality other than on paper and, when meetings actually take place, the weak capacity of the elected officials and customary chiefs who constitute and lead them, combined with the sometimes self-serving motivations on sub-contracting and procurement (among others) and/or community issues discussed above, quickly compromise dialogue between stakeholders. Solutions are often found on a case-by-case basis to unblock the participation of these so-called “representatives of the populations” but they do not systematically work over time.

It is indeed difficult – even “blocking” – to do things “without the authority” when the financial responsibility for activities such as the convening, holding and monitoring of consultation frameworks does not fall within the remit of NGOs. However, the reports of their deliberations are, in concrete terms, one of the indicators of the achievement of a programme’s objectives. Thus, a large number of activities requiring the full involvement of state and/or local government services exist only because they are financed by NGOs or donors. While the underlying causes are too numerous to be developed here (among them, the limited resources available to the state), the result is ultimately the ‘monetisation’ effect of regalian services transformed into ‘services for the payer’ with a view to their effectiveness. We are therefore sometimes far from the ‘homogenous and constant public service’ whose functionality is the starting point for the budgetary programming of aid actors.

In the decentralisation master plan, each activity must also be integrated into the appropriate framework (regional and local) through the economic, social and cultural development programmes (ESCDP) of the communes, which allow the legitimate concerns of the populations to be taken into account and appropriate responses to be provided.

These programmes are drawn up – in theory – every five years and revised – still in theory – every year. Therefore, for humanitarian actors who operate on a different timeframe (that of needs in the face of crises), a priori programming in the institutions’ calendar conflicts with a posteriori “budgetary” programming linked to the dynamics imposed by donors. As a result, these two often asynchronous processes lead to tensions or result in a form of “forced integration” which is also monetised via dedicated funding so that it can be passed on to donors as effective and successful integration.

This rigidity of the framework and these interplay of interests have an impact on the agility and adaptability of projects and are compromising for stakeholders where the hyper-localized accountability of aid should call for the preservation of a citizen culture and ethics. In a context of absence of the State, characterised by the predominance of informal actors of violence, what strategy should then be adopted to limit these pernicious effects and ensure the achievement of effective and reinforced resilience of the populations most exposed to vulnerability?

All of these factors that fuel intra-community crises and overlap are essential to understand and take into account with better adapted and even more localised responses that integrate the “accountability and governance” binomial within the beneficiary communities as well as in the chain of interlocutors and intermediaries.

If yesterday’s struggles were called, among other things, “the right to humanitarian intervention”, tomorrow’s struggles should not be limited to a theoretical “triple nexus” but should go far beyond this and call for the imperative need to introduce into the corpus of international law and practice the binding notion of the “inalienable right to collective organisation” which respects the relevance of territoriality with and through sufficient control over the public apparatus, always remaining “representative”.

The challenge would be to find the right strategies to support individuals’ capacities to organise themselves, in order to get out of the dynamics of dependency. Supporting this right and encouraging its free exercise rather than trying to establish solutions that are always technocratic in place of individuals affected by crises would be a good course of action.

It is on this condition alone that the framework will probably become conducive in the long term to the sustainability of aid and stabilisation and will therefore make the development of these communities a reality.

Hamada (Wandey) AG AHMED

Who is Hamada (Wandey) AG AHMED?

Wandey is a graduate of the University of Paris 12 (Master’s degree in humanitarian management and development actions) and of the Bioforce school in Lyon.

He has been working for 20 years with several organisations (French Red Cross, Solidarités, ACF, Save the Children, Oxfam among others) and most recently at SIF as Africa Regional Manager based in Paris.

After his first experiences in Central Africa, he held several head of mission positions in the Sahel, with programmes focusing on resilience, health, nutrition and food security before joining Groupe URD in April 2019 as Country Coordinator in Mali. He is in charge of supporting the KEY programme funded by the European Union.

This Franco-Malian with a dual culture is particularly interested in “weak signals” and issues affecting the most vulnerable and most at risk populations as an observer-witness to change and analyst.

He has notably coordinated several studies, the most recent of which focuses on the “forgotten human and environmental heritage” of Lake Faguibine in partnership with AFD.

 

Security and development in the Sahel: a book to understand … and to act.

Pierre Brunet gives a rich and clear summary of the book Security and Development in the Sahel, published by Harmattan, edited by Peer de Jong.

L’Harmattan [1] has published a book that summarises, in a digestible number of pages, the interventions, analyses and reflections exchanged during the symposium “Security and Development in the Sahel, from Concept to Reality”. This event was organised by the Themiis Institute and the Europe-Mauritania association, at the Paris headquarters of UNESC0 on 1 October 2019.

Quite often, this type of report or symposium minutes is a dry, complex thinkum, aimed at a narrow readership of academics or specialists. This is not the case with this book, which reads like a multi-voiced but fluid, homogenous, coherent and above all clear analysis. Mixing inventory, concrete diagnoses, speaking examples, global vision and presentation of the “field of the possible” in terms of solutions to a problem that is already too advanced as far as this Sahel region is concerned, it attempts to answer this question: How can we fight against the multifaceted insecurity that plagues the countries in the area, while at the same time building the means to offer a future to both the victims and the actors of this insecurity (often the same ones…)?

The development-security continuum, a Copernican revolution for European thinkers

Moreover, this book is a counterpoint – or an echo – of Serge Michailof’s essay “Africanistan”, which I also had the opportunity to review for Défis Humanitaires. In his book, Serge Michailof insisted on the need for “developers” in the broadest sense to “dare” to engage in the construction of tools ensuring long-term security, tools without which all development efforts are lost in the sands… And in L’Harmattan’s book, it is very often the observation of the need to “dare” to engage in the construction of a development that is sustainable, viable and capable of meeting the immense expectations of a population destabilised by numerous simultaneous shocks (including, for example, beyond insecurity, climate change), a young population and exponential demographic growth, that is asserted. And this is often done by the military, which is far from neglecting the need for military combat, on the ground, in the face of the numerous armed groups taking advantage of the disintegration, disappearance or abandonment of the state and its services in huge regions. Without development prospects, no military victory will ensure real security change in the long term.

Distribution of CASH, Mali, 2017 / ©Solidarités International

This ‘continuum’, to use a buzzword, between development and security, as the Mauritanian Major General Ould Sidi Mesgharou writes, is a Copernican revolution for many European development thinkers who for a long time wanted to see and theorise only the continuum between development and democracy, which seemed to be natural and in a way self-sufficient.

But it is not only European developers who have been challenged in their approach by the emergence and rise of insecurity in the Sahel. As Maman Sambo Sidikou, Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel, points out in his introduction, “Terrorism is relatively new in the Sahel and has caught us by surprise”. Drawing the consequences of this “strategic surprise”, the same Maman Sambo Sidikou concluded his remarks by affirming the need for the G5 Sahel and also for African and European leaders in the broadest sense involved in resolving the situation, to take relevant, effective and tangible action, which implies “acting differently and going outside its comfort zone”.

A contradiction to be resolved between security expectations and those of the population

This effective action, intervening as well, and in synergy, in the field of the military as well as the institutional and development fields, implies a certain number of prerequisites that I will mention in conclusion, but it already presupposes, as Maman Sambo Sidikou points out, to decide – or at the very least to arbitrate clearly – between security expectations, As for this region of the Sahel, Western allies of African countries… and the expectations of the populations living there… The former, beyond the fight against terrorism, expect the defence and security forces of the countries in the Sahel to “secure the borders”, i.e. “prevent the international mobility of migrants towards the North”, while the populations living along the route of the latter subsist today, to a large extent, from this migration, which consumes and nourishes the local bursar, all along the way… Peer de Jong, Vice-President of the Themiis Institute, even speaks, in his intervention, of “a situation which has ended up generating a profitable economy of disorder whose crossed interests progressively lead to a state of endless war”.

A contradiction to be resolved, therefore, all the more so as the needs and economic expectations of the population in the Sahel are staggering .

Vertiginous, because population growth in the Sahel – as Serge Michailof had already demonstrated in his book – is explosive. Franck Galland, who works for the ES consulting engineering firm he manages, recalls the figures: the population of the G5 Sahel countries will double in the next twenty years. For example, Niger, which had 3.5 million inhabitants in 1960, has 20 million today, will have 35 to 40 million in 2035 and more than 50 million in 2050… As Alain Antil, Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Centre of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), states, “The demographic explosion is not a problem in the absolute, but de facto it accentuates all the problems, starting with the basic service needs of the populations, which are already difficult to cover. If we take only the primary need for access to water, Franck Galland points out that 150 million Sahelians are already facing huge challenges on this issue, with per capita water availability having decreased by more than 40% over the last twenty years. As for the “economic expectation” in itself, the situation is almost worse: Alain Antil explains that the economies of the zone only have the capacity to create, in terms of good jobs, not even 10% of the annual needs of new arrivals on the labour market.

Transit site, IOM, Cameroon, 2014 / ©Solidarités International

“The war in the Sahel reveals the inadequacy of our European development models to the emergency”.

A decisive part of the misfortune gnawing at the region is, according to many speakers, a form of renunciation, blindness or avoidance on the part of many of the politicians in power. Alain Antil states that “everyone pretends to believe that the security apparatus, and by extension the states, govern their territory”… To illustrate this “absence of elites’ outburst”, he cites as an example (an intervention made before the coup d’état of 18 August 2020) the case of Mali, where “the political course seems to run smoothly in Bamako, without major changes, while more than half of the national territory is now controlled by others than the state”. However, as Peer de Jong points out, “the war is becoming international and spreading”. And he goes further, pointing out that this war-insecurity that is taking hold and spreading leads to fears of contagion towards the South and the Gulf of Guinea, which could lead to a “Somali-style” development. Peer de Jong said that “the Gulf of Guinea is now within reach, suggesting the possibility of a chaotic zone and the possible establishment of “multi-purpose caliphates” between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Finally, Peer de Jong underlines that “the war in the Sahel reveals the inadequacy of our European development models to the emergency”. He specifies this urgency, detailing how the deterioration of the security situation, combined with the absence of the state in the territories, allows the unlimited development of highly organised cross-border crime based on the GATs (Armed Terrorist Groups), crime with multiple activities (trafficking in arms, drugs, migrants, etc.), which benefits everyone, between “narcoterrorism” and “islamic terrorism”.

It is therefore urgent to win the war, because, as the Mauritanian colonel N’Diawar N’Diaye states, and even if the stakes of development are, at the same time, essential, “this war will be won militarily or will not be won”. Peer de Jong goes on to explain that “the objective is no longer simply to destroy an invisible enemy with less and less rudimentary means, but to encourage the emergence of an environment that is hostile to it. It is therefore necessary to act on the biotope of this adversary of which he himself is sometimes a stranger, by favouring the emergence of a space that is resistant to the presence of an Islamist terrorist force or not”. The objective is therefore no longer simply the “constantly renewed” destruction of terrorists, but rather action in favour of populations likely to bring their aid and to switch to assistance to armed groups.

It is in this respect, as Peer de Jong points out, that “the fight against violent extremist groups, by its obviously political purpose, is akin to a counter-revolutionary war”. And he continues: “Any counter-insurgency war implies methodical and long-term actions at the level of the threatened state.

Only a strengthened state presence can embed security

The objective is therefore clearly the people. Peer de Jong, again, sets out the concept and the method: security is mainly provided by the effective presence of the state as far away as possible (access to water, education, health, administration, police, gendarmerie, army, justice). It is a question for the state to reach the most distant and therefore the most destitute, by setting up the essential and regalian services in a sustainable way. Only this effective and honest presence (especially in the area of justice) can entrench security wherever the army has taken back territory from the enemy. The ultimate objective is therefore to “put in place a policy of dissociation (GAT-population) by carrying out continuous security and development actions as close as possible to the centres of life”.

Children participating in a handwashing quiz, Niger, 2014 / ©Solidarités International

As Peer de Jong acknowledges, “this form of action, which constantly mixes political, security and development action, requires a large number of staff. In any case, it is structurally part of the medium term. The return of people’s confidence in the State is not necessary, it can only be built over the years. The method, moreover, must be adapted to the particularities of each country or zone, because, as Christophe Bigot, France’s special representative in the Sahel, points out, “Over an area of five million km2 , we cannot have the same approaches”. Finally, other issues that are sine qua non should be examined, such as the non-representativeness, in most of the G5 Sahel countries, of regional or ethnic diversity in the size of their armed forces, as underlined by Alain Antil.

For without representativeness, the quality of the relationship between government forces and the population is altered, and this is central because it is vital that the human environment, in the words of Peer de Jong, “is favourable to government forces. Without this support, it is illusory to think of regaining control of lost areas. Regaining a foothold in a region, effectively controlling it, can only be achieved through the cohesion – almost connivance – that must exist between government forces and the people. The latter must feel ‘part of the country’, which implies a real work of perception of belonging and the construction of nation-states in the Sahel”.

What forces are needed to lead this struggle? As Senegalese Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, a Senegalese army general, says, “the UN model of population protection developed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and summarised by the concept of ‘presence as protection’ does not work satisfactorily in the Sahel. The adaptation of the UN tool to the threat in the Sahel should – in order to restore the moral standing of the blue helmets and thus the credit of the Organisation – be part of a more global approach to security, more focused on the root causes of conflicts, their prevention and peacebuilding”.

So, invent, or reinvent (Peer de Jong speaks for the armies of the Sahel to “recover their ancestral know-how”), a new form of military forces adapted to the challenges of the Sahel?

Combining security missions and regalian missions: the Mauritanian example

The example of Mauritania was examined in depth in this colloquium (due, among other things, to the sponsorship of the Europe-Mauritania association). The Mauritanian army has successfully trained and operated, in parallel, GSIs (Special Intervention Groups) equipped with armed pickups, capable of springing up and acting alone and far away, in autonomy, constituting a rapid, rustic force supported by the air force; on the other hand and in synergy, the Mauritanian general staff has implemented nomadic groups, often equipped with camels. These nomadic groups, somewhat resurrecting the ‘Saharan companies’ of the ‘colonial’ era, have the capacity to patrol in depth for a very long time in regions that they know, to move around where even 4X4s do not pass, to blend into the landscape, and, in addition to security missions (search and destruction of GATs, fighting and ambushes of opportunity) to carry out regalian missions with very remote populations, to follow simple development programmes aimed at the immediate satisfaction of the needs of these populations, and to offer police services (fight against cattle thieves, etc.). ). Knowledge of the terrain, rusticity, adaptability, autonomy and versatility… At a time of high-tech warfare and UAVs, the most effective long-term response may not be where we thought it would be…

Malian Tuareg refugee camp in Mberra, Mauritania, 2013 / ©Solidarités International

Other, much more “macro” tools are also needed. In this respect, Christophe Bigot detailed the creation of the Sahel Alliance in July 2017, under a Franco-German initiative with the World Bank and the EU. This new approach “makes it possible to devote more funds to the Sahel but also to reform the way development is done by reaching vulnerable areas, by using actors other than the State when the latter is absent, through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local authorities or companies”. Finally, France has proposed a new framework for relations between the Sahel countries and their partners, called the “Coalition for the Sahel”. This new framework, led by Christophe Bigot himself, aims to “give a new impetus and to direct/energise efforts in four directions: the fight against terrorism, strengthening the military capabilities of States, support for the return of administrations to the territories and development aid”.

Reading this book gives a sense of hope, even if the findings and diagnoses are sometimes uncompromising. There are solutions, within reach, that is to say, a willingness. It remains for political, administrative and military leaders to respond to the prerequisites implicit in these solutions; lucidity, courage, a sense of responsibility, transparency, integrity, a willingness to include at all levels all the communities making up each country in the Sahel, a readiness to coordinate closely with neighbours and allies and to give themselves the means for this long-term fight, proximity to the reality on the ground… and a high degree of vision.

Pierre Brunet

Writer and humanitarian

Consult Pierre Brunet’s biography.

1] “Security and Development in the Sahel – From Concept to Reality”, edited by Peer de Jong, L’Harmattan editions.