UN Humanitarian Chief: Sahel is Very Close to Tipping Point

10/15/2020

The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that daunting problems in Africa’s Sahel region are getting worse and the region “is very close to a tipping point — and so by extension are its African neighbors, Europe, and the world.”

Mark Lowcock in a virtual speech to students at the Paris Institute for political science said that six Central Sahel countries -- Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, and northeast Nigeria -- are at “a true epicenter of conflict and insecurity, weak governance, chronic underdevelopment and poverty, demographic pressures, and climate change.” This has led to the influx in extremist groups in the region. Before 2012, only one extremist group, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, operated in Mali. However, “by 2018, more than 10 groups were active in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, in addition to groups like Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.”

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