Air University Press


The Future of Strategic Competition in the Sahel Region: Placing Partnership First

  • Published
  • By Laura Rajosefa
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In 2020, a Ghana-based polling institute called Afrobarometer measured popular opinion of Chinese involvement in eighteen African states. According to Soule and Selormey’s analysis of this study, “perceptions of China have changed for the better in some countries in the Sahel region.” Both China and Russia engaged in deepening defense cooperation with Sahelian states. Russia and Mali, for example, signed an official defense cooperation agreement in 2019.

Strategic competition is unfolding in the Sahel region—a vast geographical area comprised of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina-Faso, and Chad. How can the United States incorporate this nascent reality in a security context still characterized by endogenous terrorist threats linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State? Should counterterrorism operations be halted to pursue strategic competition instead? In order to answer those questions, we must decode the Chinese and Russian approaches and derive hypotheses and plausible scenarios which has been done in this research study.


Author(s)Laura Rajosefa
AU Press CodeWF-93

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