Global interest in the Sahel has expanded significantly in recent years. The growth of regional terrorism, the collapse of the Malian State in 2012, and the migration crisis after 2014 all mean that world must think about the Sahel. Yet despite the newfound attention to the region, regional and international efforts to resolve these crises remain inadequate.
Region-wide strategies remain security- focused despite emphasising the need for improved governance. Informal economies and corruption continue to sap states of needed resources. And overly securitised efforts by the European Union to reduce migration to Europe damage border communities, undermine regional populations, and fail to adequately address the reasons why migration occurs.
A more holistic approach to regional stabilisation is needed. To stabilise the region the EU and member states should create a joint migration framework for the Sahel, West Africa, and the Maghreb, manage informal economies, focus on long-term security sector reform, and harmonise and strengthen regional coordinating bodies to help reduce dependence on international support.
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European Council On Foreign Relations
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