The Sahel is caught in the grip of three major phenomena that threaten its bases: ambient insecurity with the corollary of the great humanitarian challenge to which the coronavirus has recently been grafted. The G5 Sahel countries have declared the coronavirus pandemic now the public enemy number 1. This group included, as of May 21, 2020, 3,366 patients declared positive with Covid 19, of which 2,125 who were cured and 224 deceased. Managing this triple battle requires pragmatism and imagination on the part of the national political authorities and their technical and financial partners.
« The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, » proclaimed President Franklin D Roosevelt to his compatriots struck by the Great Depression. Ninety years later, that message remains valid against the Covid19.
Striking both the strongest states as well as the most fragile, Covid 19 has emerged as a global disaster to all. All concerned and confined. Continuing to decimate, it forced practicality and left little room for charlatans and political demagoguery. By all this, it calls for a response, certainly national but also international.
Will the Coronavirus pandemic have consequences on the security situation in the Sahel?
The risks of a positive response are great: foreign soldiers engaged in the fight against terrorism and evolving in this sub-region are mobile and come from several countries, some of which are hotbeds of transmission, such as China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) includes 57 nationalities, as y different pandemic situations. Though at various severity levels, the G 5 Sahel members states are now victims of the pandemic, Burkina Faso being the most affected.
The G 5 Sahel and France Summit should be held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on February 24. It should go to the actual issues and deal with the most urgent, in order to give hope to the Sahel populations. And probably also to their allies.
On February 24 and 25, the G 5 Sahel Summit and the Alliance for the Sahel will be held in Nouakchott, Mauritania. In that context, a reminder and observations may be needed.
A number of misunderstandings – as well as false information – muddle the Sahel Sahara crisis. That contributes to worsening the crisis and to delaying its resolution. To help understand it, clarification is needed.