Linking security and development – A Plea for the Sahel

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The situation in the Sahel has worsened significantly in the last ten years, especially in the area of security. Great swathes of land have fallen into a vicious cycle where poverty and insecurity are mutually reinforcing. Unless local authorities and the international community take concerted and decisive action, these areas could succumb to a series of conflicts from which they will struggle to emerge. A permanent crisis, driven by mutually reinforcing poverty, criminal activity and armed conflict, comes at an exorbitantly steep cost.

This plea calls for significant evolutions in the European and French development policies for the Sahel. They should be robust, aligned with the region’s real security challenges, and reflect the diverse realities on the ground. For the purpose of this report, the term “Sahel” is understood as the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).



Volume 1

Key messages

1. Introduction

  • Methodology
  • Overview

2. The Sahel: an economic, social and political breeding-ground for violence

  • Persistent security challenges
  • Sources of violence and the need for development

3. The weakness and imbalance of the international action

  • “Winning the war is not enough to win the peace”
  • The French paradox
  • Development assistance outlook in the Sahel
  • Recurring criticism of donor responses
  • Are multi-donor trust funds the answer to ineffective donor coordination?

4. Insecurity at the heart of initiatives

  • Day-to-day security: the missing link in international initiatives in the Sahel
  • Insecurity: a pretext for inaction

5. Actions for development

  • Maintaining a balance between quick-impact activities and actions that are effective over the long term
  • Reinvesting in neglected sectors: education, family agriculture and mobility of people and goods

6. Supporting the institutional reform of the States

  • Nothing will be achieved without strong support for African governments
  • Reviving municipal and local development
  • Taking account of regional considerations (ECOWAS, WAEMU, SAHEL G5)

7. Conclusion

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Volume 2


Appendix 1. Données statistiques

Appendix 2. Michel Garenne,  « La pression de la population dans les Pays Sahéliens Francophones : Analyse des estimations et projections de population 1950-2100 »

Appendix 3. Camille Laville, « Comparaison entre les budgets des opérations militaires menées au Sahel et les financements alloués au développement »

Appendix 4. Aline Brachet, « Les impacts de l’aide au développement sur les conflits et l’insécurité au Sahel. Peut-on faire autrement ? »

Appendix 5. Paul Collier, « Fragile States and International Support »


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Linking security and development
A Plea for the Sahel

A publication by Ferdi
63, boulevard François-Mitterrand
63000 Clermont-Ferrand
ISBN : 978-2-9550779-3-1

This publication has been produced with the support of the French Government, and led by the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR) as part of the “Investments in the Future” (Investissements d’avenir) programme, ref. ANR-10-LBX-14-01.

Cover illustration : Aude Guirauden, Baobab III.
Graphic design : Isabelle Durand.
© Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international (Ferdi), 2016.


Guillaumont Jeanneney S. avec C. Angely,  A. Brachet, P. Collier, M. Garenne, P. Guillaumont, B. Joubert, C. Laville, J. de Melo, S. Michailof, B. Miribel, O. Ray et T. Zongo, Allier sécurité et développement Plaidoyer pour le Sahel, Ferdi 2016. (in English : Linking security and development – A Plea for the Sahel)