top of page
  • forosaheleuropa

The Sahel as Africa's Strategic Heartland: Security Challenges

Publication of the I Sahel Europe Dialogue Forum

25 June 2021

Following the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum on 15 March, the speaker Pedro Sánchez Herráez, a colonel in the Spanish Armed Forces, and the invited expert Emmanuel Dupuy, advisor and consultant, have written down some of the important ideas discussed at the forum. The authors emphasise the idea of linkages and interdependence on several overlapping levels (security, economic, climatic, social) as well as the cross-cutting nature of the approaches adopted by the international community. These ideas of interdependence and transversality are consistent with a Sahel that has been, and has been since time immemorial, the long corridor connecting North and South, Europe with and the Gulf of Guinea, the Nilotic East with the Bantu and Berber West, and even with Latin America. A miniature Silk Road, with porous borders and overlapping ethnicities. Along this route, warriors, sages, ideas and goods have circulated, tensions have spread and affections have been woven.

Download the document in French, English and Spanish

Le Sahel, centre de gravité stratégique de l'Afrique Les défis de la sécurité
Download PDF • 376KB
El Sahel como centro de gravedad estratégico de África- Retos para la seguridad
Download PDF • 386KB
The Sahel as Africa's Strategic Heartland- Security Challenges
Download PDF • 379KB

Lead researchers:

Colonel Pedro Sánchez Herráez. Colonel in the Spanish Army. Analyst at the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies.

Expert collaborators who have assisted in the drafting of this document:

Emmanuel Dupuy. President of the Institute for Prosperity and Security in Europe (IPSE). Ambassador José Hornero. Ambassador of Spain to the Republic of Mali and Burkina Faso.


This analysis is part of an ongoing line of research by the International Security Centre on the Sahel. Following the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum organised in March 2021, speakers belonging to the Sahel- Europe Dialogue Forum Expert Group have deepened the themes of their conferences, analysing the shared challenges, and the opportunities for cooperation on our common challenges. The political crises in Mali and Chad link the security crisis to governance challenges in these states, where the presence of self-defence militias and jihadist groups hinder economic and social development. In such a changing environment, with the Sahel being Europe's advanced frontier, it is now more important than ever to promote a space for dialogue in which both regions can share, cooperate and propose innovative solutions. This series of publications, as well as the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum, have received a grant from the General Secretariat for Defence Policy of the Ministry of Defence.



bottom of page