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Impact of Covid-19 in Central Sahel: Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso

Rida Lyammouri , Nihal Aicha El Mquirmi | August 18, 2020

Fragile, poor, and conflict-affected Sahelian countries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso were expected to witness catastrophic health and security situations following the emergence of COVID-19. However, the number of cases and deaths remained relatively low in all three countries compared to other parts of the world. Violent extremist organizations (VEOs) attempted to exploit the pandemic in their narratives, while continuing to conduct attacks in the region. Violence and attacks by VEOs might or might have not increased in Central Sahel in recent months. However; there is no data showing direct correlation between VEOs violent activities and COVID-19. This Policy Paper analyses the impact of COVID-19 on Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and highlights that COVID-19 is not a direct cause of disruption, but an important health crisis that adds to the existing humanitarian, security and governance crises.