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West African security strategy will miss its mark

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


West African security strategy.


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) December 21 summit in Abuja was dominated by coverage of the proposed launch next year of a new regional currency, but security was also a major theme of the event. This summit came less than two weeks after an attack at Inates, Niger, killed over 70 soldiers, and followed the extraordinary ECOWAS summit on terrorism in September when a major new counterterrorism strategy was promised. Just three days after the December summit, a double attack near the northern Burkinabe town of Arbinda killed 35 civilians, underscoring the depth of the Sahel crisis.


  • Renewed jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso will further strain domestic and international confidence in Ouagadougou’s security capabilities.
  • Recent West African currency developments will partly improve French President Emmanuel Macron’s image in Africa.
  • Given the multi-faceted pressures on the UN’s Mali mission, its near-term transformation into an offensive force appears unlikely.
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