Chair Sahel

Analysing and strengthening the impact of policies for the Sahel
A FERDI Chair, in Africa

The “Chair Sahel" proposes to open a research space to examine from different angles, the policies, plans and projects implemented, the modes of action, the evaluation methods, as well as observed or expected impacts on the population in the Sahel and in various sectors.

Two research areas and activities

  • A first one concerns the implementation of national policies for each Sahelian country in connection with the various international aid pledges.
  • A second one deals with the effectiveness of the different programs and projects in the Sahel, be it at regional, country or smaller territories levels.

The objective is to inform the decisions of public and private actors in their action to overcome the crisis and promote sustainable development in the Sahel region. The aim is to increase impacts on populations and in targeted sectors of activity (education, rural development, health, governance/institutions).

Due to the importance and complexity of the issues, in order to facilitate understanding of the processes under way and the African appropriation of its work, FERDI decided to anchor the Chair locally in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

The creation of a "Sahel Chair" within Ferdi is part of its general policy of setting up Chairs aimed at strengthening its major programs of reflection on development policies and enhancing their value.


December 2018: Publication of the report Analyse de l'aide accordée aux pays du Sahel - Première partie : Analyse à partir des statistiques du Comité d’aide au développement de l’OCDE [Analysis of Aid to Sahel Countries - Part I: Analysis based on OECD Development Assistance Committee statistics.] Reading (in French)


To purpose of the Sahel Chair is to involve and forge partnerships with both scientific institutions and policy-makers.

  • Partnerships are essential with the universities and research centers of the Sahel region, those of France (in particular Cerdi , but also with the major French research organizations) as well as centers from other countries with which Ferdi already collaborates on topics relevant to the issue. One other natural partnership is with the “Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’ouest” (CSAO) from the OECD.
  • A second category of desirable partners is the development and security actors in the Sahel, first and foremost the G5, the national African administrations and the regional institutions covering the Sahel zone, but also private actors (companies and NGOs).
  • A third category gathers multilateral institutions and countries outside the Sahel that intervene significantly in the Sahel, either as donors or in other ways.

The work of the Sahel Chair is supported by the Princely Government of Monaco, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency, the African Development Bank, the Esplorado Fund and the "Investment for the Future" programme (reference ANR 10 LABX 14-01).


At the origin, a book: Linking security and development. A plea for the Sahel

The Sahel Chair of Ferdi is fully in line with the objectives of the Alliance for the Sahel, launched in July 2017, dedicated to "contribute to improving the financial support mechanisms of development partners in the Sahel region through more effective coordination of aid, substantial financial resources and greater flexibility and simplification in the implementation of instruments for cooperation and increased private investment" (Communiqué G5 Sahel meeting, New York 18 September).

Five key sectors have been identified by the Alliance (youth employability, education and training; agriculture, rural development and food security; climate energy; governance; decentralisation and support for the deployment of basic services), which correspond to the priorities defined in the book of Ferdi Linking security and development. A plea for the Sahel which is at the origin of the Sahel Chair project.

  • Collection of data on policies, their expression in development budgets and projects, and on international aid, commitments and disbursement. On this last point, cooperation should be established with the OECD's Directorate for Cooperation and Development and the DAC). The data collected should also include impact measurements of the policies implemented, which will be monitored by appropriate performance indicators.
  • The organization of seminars as often as possible and according to the agenda of the Alliance, bringing together African academics, practitioners concerned and local administration and politics . These workshops will give rise to communication activities aimed at both the academic community and public and private actors. They could also produce recommendations in the form of "Policy Notes" that can be used by policy-makers to feed and accompany their reform projects.
  • Production and publication of works. These will include working papers on the themes of the Chair's reflections, synthesis books and journal articles. To the extent that the Chair's resources permit, funding could be granted for doctoral theses.
  • Training activities will be implemented, based on the Chair’s production. These training courses will be aimed at three types of audience, public and private Sahelian actors, agents of international cooperation, and African researchers. They will be supported by the Institut des hautes études du développement durable (IHEDD), created within Ferdi as a private advanced studies institute.

The leadership of the Chair in Ouagadougou is entrusted to a major Sahelian figure: Tertius Zongo, former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and senior fellow of Ferdi.

Two governance bodies will support the activities of the Chair :

  • The Steering Committee, composed of a small number of experts on Sahelian issues, organises and monitors the progress of the Chair's programs and activities.
  • The Orientation Committee validates the proposals put forward by the Steering Committee and gives its opinion on the Chair's activities. Representatives of the Chair’s financial partners could be members of this committee.

In order to guarantee the independence and credibility of the Chair, adequate and diversified funding is required for a period of at least three years. In addition to Ferdi's own contribution, four sources of funding are sought after:

  • international philanthropy;
  • international public institutions operating in the region on a bilateral or multilateral basis;
  • governments of the Sahelian countries;
  • large companies in the region.

12 January 2018: first partnership agreement with Monaco

On 12 January 2018, the first partnership agreement for the Sahel Chair between the Monaco Department of international cooperation and Ferdi was signed in Ouagadougou at a ceremony attented by the Prince Albert II and the President of Burkina Faso. With this event attended by many more personalities, the Sahel Chair project is a testimony of the catalytic role of the Monaco Department of international cooperation.

Alle events and publications :