France’s New Approach to the Sahel: Preparing for Sustained Regional Instability

Jul 22, 2022 | 17:09 GMT

French soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, Mali, on Dec. 4, 2021.

French soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, Mali, on Dec. 4, 2021.

(THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

France’s new military approach to the Sahel is expected to illustrate its adaptation to prolonged instability in the region by giving greater support to national armies, especially Niger’s, as well as continued European engagement. However, France’s withdrawal from Mali and inability to intervene in the country will likely still result in a continued deterioration of the regional security environment. On July 13, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “rethink” of France’s military posture across Africa in the wake of its forced departure from Mali. Macron stressed that France would seek to give greater support to regional armies through additional training and intelligence sharing, and hinted that France would seek to secure continued engagement by EU member states in the Sahel. These announcements were followed by the first high-level visit of French ministers to Africa since Macron’s re-election in April 2022, with Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna and Minister for...

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