Can ECOWAS Address Insecurity in the Sahel? A 12-Month Forecast

The 26 July coup in Niger makes it harder for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address political insecurity and extremist groups in the Sahel and west Africa. Subsequently, the withdrawal of the UN and France, toothless threats to take military action against Niger, and irrelevance of the G5 Sahel exacerbate the situation for ECOWAS. Thus, in the coming months, ECOWAS will have to juggle economic and diplomatic pressure on Niger, build up their own internal security, and manage the challenges of refugee flows.

Key Judgement 1: ECOWAS will very likely favour economic and diplomatic pressure on Niger’s junta over military intervention in the next 12 months.

Key Judgement 2: It is highly likely that ECOWAS will look to strengthen their institutions and internal security in the next 12 months in an effort to reduce division and extremist violence from spilling into their territory.

Key Judgement 3: ECOWAS will most likely face a further influx of refugees from extremist-affected regions in the next 12 months. It is resulting in ECOWAS investing in both the agricultural, trade, and health sectors to bring regional security.

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