Following extensive research, writing, and collaboration, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is pleased to present this report, spearheaded by Burkina Faso-based Institut FREE Afrik and with valuable contributions from research teams across the G5 Sahel, on the economic impact of insecurity in the Sahel. Alongside Institut FREE Afrik, Mali-based Groupe de Recherche en Economie Appliquée et Théorique (GREAT), Mauritania-based Centre des Stratégies pour la Sécurité au Sahel-Sahara (Centre 4S), researchers from Niger-based Centre Incubateur des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises au Niger (CIPMEN), and Chad-based Centre de Recherche en Anthropologie et Sciences Humaines (CRASH) conducted country-level analyses on the economic impact of violent extremism and insecurity through desk research, individual interviews, and sector-specific focus groups. The five research teams were able to capture the nuance of each of their local contexts while operating under a shared research methodology, the efforts of which now culminate in this final regional report.
In addition to providing invaluable local research and context to the closely linked security and economic crises currently facing the Sahel, the research teams collaborated with local networks of private sector leaders to drive dialogue and produce policy solutions to the problems they identified. These policy recommendations are included in the report itself and will continue to be refined and made increasingly tangible by local actors in the near future. While the research findings and proposed solutions differ from country to country, overarching themes include increasing the emphasis on economic development measures alongside security interventions and instituting mechanisms for collaboration between business and government.
In December 2019, once an initial list of policy recommendations was completed, CIPE assisted local partners in convening a regional conference in Nouakchott, Mauritania where relevant stakeholders from across the Sahel could engage and provide input and structure to the report’s policy solutions. As a result, private sector champions from across the region signed on to the Nouakchott Declaration, a regional pledge calling for “governments, civil society groups, and donors to support private sector development and recognize the business community as a key partner in addressing local and cross-border challenges.” The conference also allowed for local actors to refine the policy goals, creating four target areas for immediate policy intervention:
- The creation of a public-private dialogue mechanism at the G5 Sahel level;
- Increased measures to support, protect, and prioritize the local private sector within the Programme d’Investissement Prioritaire (Priority Investment Program);
- A regional support program for businesses adversely impacted by conflict and insecurity;
- The development of strategies specifically focused on women and youth in business, particularly those in rural and poverty-stricken areas.
Through this locally driven research initiative, those closest to the dire reality of insecurity in the Sahel have stepped up to propose community-led solutions that address the economic and security crises head–on. The report and recommendations from the Nouakchott conference lay a foundation for further regional, private sector collective action on security and economic policy across the region.