NIAMEY, Niger, September 15, 2017/–The fight against terrorism and cross-border crime remains a major challenge for countries in the Sahel region, Niger’s Prime Minister, Brigi Rafini, said on Wednesday.
Officially opening a two-day High-Level Policy Dialogue on conflicts and development in the Sahel region that was co-organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, and the Government of Niger, Mr. Rafini said there’s a need to entrench long-term peace and stability in the region, which is crucial for sustainable economic growth.
He said it should be understood that the need for capacity building has much to do with integrating the conflict aspect in the formulation and implementation of development policies and strategies as well as assessing and mitigating the economic, social, cultural and environmental consequences of conflicts.
For her part, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, Ms. Giovanie Biha, said: “This High Level Policy Dialogue is to enable member states to identify with the proposed policy options in the report, recognize gaps in current practices and hone in on the core elements of such policies that are pertinent to their efforts to prevent and manage conflict as well as post-conflict reconstruction.”
In response to an African Union request for in-depth research and analyses of the root causes of conflicts in the Sahel region and assessment of the costs and consequences of these conflicts on development, a study was undertaken by the ECA and a report produced.
The Sahel research focuses on frontline States in relation to two conflict corridors, namely Northern Mali and Northeast Nigeria (Lake Chad Basin), where large-scale armed conflicts and violence are rifeThe report was being discussed by participants in the two-day meeting.
Aside from contributing to the discourse on the nexus between conflict and development, it was envisioned that the study would also assist in the articulation of clear strategies and policy recommendations to contribute to ongoing regional, continental and global efforts to entrench long-term peace and stability on the continent, which is critical for sustainable economic growth and socio-economic transformation.
The Sahel research focuses on frontline States in relation to two conflict corridors, namely Northern Mali and Northeast Nigeria (Lake Chad Basin), where large-scale armed conflicts and violence are rife.
The ECA is using this meeting to highlight two main themes: assessment of the root causes of conflicts in the Sahel region and the consequences of these conflicts on the economic development of the region. In assessing the root causes of conflicts, the Commission saw the need to analyse both economic and non-economic causes, identify national, regional and international factors of destabilization, and to make a distinction between structural and immediate causes or triggering factors.
This meeting paves the way for concrete discussions on the findings of the study and the experiences of stakeholders while outlining global strategies and policy responses to conflicts and development within the region.
Participants to this High-Level Policy Dialogue on Conflict and Development include representatives from front-line Member States, the UN Office for West Africa, and the Sahel, the G5 Sahel Secretariat, Regional Economic Communities as well as expert groups, universities, think tanks, research institutions, UN agencies and development partners.