Editor’s Note: February 19, 2019

Should we be paying more attention to the Sahel?

Burkina Faso’s foreign minister has warned that the threat posed by Islamist militants in the Sahel is spreading to coastal countries in West Africa.

Recent attacks on the country’s border with Ghana and Cote d’ivoire – two of the region’s leading economies – show that “it’s no longer just the Sahel”, Alpha Barry said at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend.

The so-called G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Mali and Niger – have become a hotbed of instability, fueled by the fallout of Muammar Gaddafi’s demise in Libya, and widespread underdevelopment.

This has provided fertile ground for groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

High profile attacks in recent years have spurred international efforts to counter them. The flagship initiative is the multilateral G5 Sahel Joint Military force, launched in 2017. Bogged downby poor coordination and  funding shortages, this is struggling to make an impact.

With economic conditions across much of West Africa not much better than in the G5 countries, the region could be susceptible to similar instability as in the Sahel.

The Boko Haram insurgency in north east Nigeria, which has alleged links to other Islamist groups, shows the potential for destabilization. 

It’s too soon to panic, but this is one to watch.

From The Continent

Democratic Republic of Congo's newly elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, has met with his predecessor Joseph Kabila for talks to form a coalition government. The move is likely to fuel accusations that  Tshisekedi’s victory in the disputed December 30 poll was the result of a backroom deal with Kabila, whose coalition remains in control of the country's legislature. More: Daily Nation

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the country's security forces to be 'ruthless’ in dealing with anyone interfering in its presidential election amid heightened tension following a last-minute, one week delay. His ruling All Progressives Congress Party and the main opposition People's Democratic Party have accused each other of orchestrating the postponement. More: BBC

The Daily Stat


The amount Zimbabwean opposition politician Tendai Biti has been fined for falsely announcing that his party won last July's disputed  presidential election. More: News24

The Global Perspective

Kuwait’s ambassador to Nigeria has said the country has approved $2bn in development loans for African countries, to be disbursed over five years. The funding will focus on infrastructure development, and comes amid rising investment from the Gulf States. More: The Nation

South African Airways has announced plans to reorganise the business in a bid to revamp the struggling state-owned airline. The carrier, which has not made a profit  since 2011, will be split into domestic, regional and international units in an effort to make it more agile. More:Reuters

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