REPI

Belgian Special Forces in the Sahel: a minimal footprint with maximal output?


by Nina Wilén (REPI & Egmont), Africa Policy Brief n°26, Egmont Institute, May 2019 

In a shifting geopolitical context, the Belgian Defence has intensified its presence in the Sahel region and developed a new strategic military collaboration with Niger through Operation New Nero. This policy brief critically examines the strategy and identifies three challenges for the future of the operation: Niger’s democratic development, the asymmetry between the Western Partner Nation’s capabilities, and diverging agendas within the Belgian Defence. To counter these challenges, it is suggested that the minimalist approach and the social networks which enable horizontal collaboration among partners are maintained, while new civil-military opportunities are explored. On a broader level, it is recommended that Belgium aligns its political and military agendas to achieve longterm strategies geopolitical regions of importance.