The Sahel Deterioration and Violence in West Africa in 2024

The Sahel, marked by its semi-arid to arid climate, lies between the Sahara Desert in the north and the savannas and forests of sub-Saharan Africa to the south. The Sahel has been characterised by growing instability triggered by poverty, food insecurity, water scarcity and challenges presented by terrorism, rebel groups and poor governance, often the result of military coups.

As part of our comprehensive 2024 Intelligence Forecast, this analysis explores the Sahel’s growing instability and associated violence in West Africa in 2024.

Within the last decade there have been multiple coups and attempted coups in the region.

Regional coups are driven by allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement. Ineffective government responses to armed groups and violent extremists, like the Tuareg rebel group in Mali, contribute to political instability. Growing concerns focus on the expanding capabilities of transregional Islamist terrorist organisations, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, with groups like JNIM and ISSP active in West Africa, the Sahel, and the Maghreb.

The developing threat posed by VEOs in the Sahel resulted in several military operations aimed at stabilising the region and containing the threat. The most noteworthy of these operations were Operation Barkhane and the United Nations’ Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

However, military operations in the region have failed to sufficiently contain the VEO threat and the region is plagued by endemic terrorism and armed conflict. The military coups, which were often justified on the grounds of improving the security situation, sought to take the matter into their own hands and frequently blamed a foreign military presence for the region’s destabilisation.

In this report:

  • The Sahel Deterioration and Violence in West Africa in 2024
    • The Sahel’s decade of turmoil: Coups, conflict, and governance struggles
    • Military operations in the Sahel
  • Assessment and 2024 Forecast
    • VEO strategies in 2024: A focus on coastal West Africa
    • VEOs potential impact on 2024 elections in the Sahel
    • Potential consequences of foreign force withdrawal
    • El Niño’s impact on Sahelian stability
    • The ongoing challenge and global ramifications
Sahel Violence report mock up

Continued in full report…


More from the 2024 Intelligence Forecast

South Africa’s Economic Future Amidst Threats of Civil Unrest in 2024

Global Supply Chains at Risk in the South China Sea in 2024

Will China Move to Annex Taiwan in 2024?

Civil unrest is expected to cause significant disruption in South Africa in 2024. Despite this, many companies are increasingly choosing to expand or establish a presence in the country for various compelling reasons.

China’s aggression in the South China Sea has prompted international condemnation and spurred efforts to finalise a non-aggression pact with claimant territories. Lack of co-operation could lead to key supply chain disruptions in 2024.

One of the most pertinent geopolitical catalysts in 2024 is the relationship between China and Taiwan. Relations have deteriorated significantly over the past 18 months and hold the potential to reverberate globally.


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