Video On Demand

The Sahel Summit

September 11, 2019 • 9:00 am – 12:30 pm EDT
The situation in Mali and the Sahel continues to deteriorate. Despite significant international engagement and investment, violent extremism is increasing. The number of reported violent events linked to militant Islamic group activity in the Sahel has doubled every year since 2016, reaching 465 incidents in 2018. Violence also spread and then rapidly escalated in Niger and Burkina Faso in the past two years. As the head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the Security Council, the Sahel region needs support from the international community “now more than ever.”

On September 11, 2019, the CSIS Africa Program will host a half-day conference examining the escalating violence in the Sahel. The conference will feature a keynote address by the Republican Leader of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Michael McCaul, who will share his views of U.S. policy toward the Sahel. Two expert panels, consisting of academics and policymakers from Europe, the Sahel, and the United States, will also discuss the state of play and response efforts. The opening and closing plenary and all panels will be live webcast from the CSIS website.


9:00 AM - Panel 1: The State of Play
Corinne Dufka (Human Rights Watch), Andrew Lebovich (Columbia University), Susanna Wing (Haverford College), and Doussouba Konate (Accountability Lab Mali) will examine the political incentives and disincentives underlying the regional responses to the escalating violence in the Sahel.

10:30 AM - Keynote address delivered by Representative Michael McCaul (Republican Leader, House Foreign Affairs Committee)

10:45 AM - Break 

11:00 AM - Panel 2: The Way Forward
U.S. and European officials will discuss the international architecture of the response efforts in the Sahel, including mechanisms to increase coordination and bridge gaps. Panelists will include Whitney Baird (U.S. State Department), Heike Thiele (German Directorate‑General for Humanitarian Assistance, Crisis Prevention Stabilisation and Post‑Conflict Reconstruction), Rigmor Elianne Koti (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Section for the Horn of Africa and West Africa), Robert Jan Siegert (Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and Ambassador Antonio Torres-Dulce (Spanish Special Envoy to the Sahel, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation).

This event is made possible by the support of the European Union, the Embassy of Germany, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and the Embassy of Spain.

Event Partners


Judd Devermont

Associate Professor of Political Science, Haverford College
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for West Africa and Security Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Heike Thiele

Director for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Stabilization, German Directorate‑General for Humanitarian Assistance, Crisis Prevention Stabilisation and Post‑Conflict Reconstruction

Rigmor Elianne Koti

Deputy Director, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Section for the Horn of Africa and West Africa

Robert Jan Siegert

Deputy Director Sub-Saharan Africa Department, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ambassador Antonio Torres-Dulce

Spanish Special Envoy for the Sahel, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation