Intel Report: Formation of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES)

Sahel has a strategic role in Africa and the AES might impact regional dynamics (Credits: Foto di James Wiseman su Unsplash)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 42 Issue 15
SpecialEurasia OSINT Unit

Executive Summary

The Sahel region of Africa has become a focal point of instability in recent years. Military coups, extremist violence, and widespread poverty have plagued the region, leading to a humanitarian crisis and weakening regional security.

In this context, the announcement of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger marks a significant development.

This report analyses the motivations behind the formation of the AES, its potential impact, and the challenges it faces moving forward.

Sahel: Background Information

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have all experienced political turmoil in recent years. Each country transitioned through military coups in 2021 or 2022, dissolving previously established democratic governments. These coups stemmed, at least in part, from public frustration with the inability of these governments to address security concerns and improve living standards.

Additionally, all three countries share a history of French colonialism, and there is a growing perception that France prioritises its own interests over those of the region. France’s perceived failure to adequately address the jihadist threat and its unwillingness to relinquish control over military operations in the Sahel fuel this sentiment.

In January 2024, all three countries announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional economic and political bloc with close ties to France. This move further underscored their dissatisfaction with the existing regional security architecture and their desire for greater autonomy.

Formation of the AES

On May 17th, 2024, foreign ministers from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger met in Niamey, Niger, to finalise a draft agreement establishing the AES. Despite the absence of explicit information regarding the agreement’s details, the agreement establishes a fresh alliance in the realm of politics and security among the three member states. The agreement will probably be brought forward to the heads of state of each country for approval at an upcoming summit.

Potential Impact

The formation of the AES has the potential to reshape significantly the security landscape in the Sahel region. Here are some possible outcomes:

  • Enhanced Security Cooperation: The AES could foster greater collaboration between member states on intelligence sharing, joint military operations, and border security. This could lead to a more coordinated response to the threat posed by extremist groups.
  • Reduced French Influence: The alliance may represent a strategic shift by member states towards lessened dependence on France for security help. This could lead to more favourable conditions for Russia or China, which have become increasingly active in Africa.
  • Alternative Governance Model: The AES could be an attempt to establish a governance model that is perceived as more responsive to the needs of the Sahel region than the Western-backed democracies that have been in place since independence. However, the success of this model will depend on the member states’ commitment to good governance, transparency, and addressing the root causes of instability.

Challenges and Considerations

While the AES presents potential benefits, there are also significant challenges to consider:

  • Internal Cohesion: Balancing the individual interests of each member state with the collective goals of the confederation will be critical. Historical tensions and competition for resources could hinder cooperation.
  • Addressing Root Causes: The long-term success of the AES hinges on its ability to address the underlying issues that fuel instability in the region, such as poverty, corruption, and ethnic tensions.
  • International Response: The response of the international community, particularly from France and other Western powers, will significantly affect the AES’s trajectory. Sanctions or isolation could cripple the alliance, while cooperation and support could bolster its legitimacy.


  1. Closely monitor the AES’s development and pronouncements from member states. Analyse the content of the final agreement once it is public to understand the structure and goals of the confederation.
  2. Continuously assess the potential impact of the AES on regional security dynamics and the broader geopolitical landscape. This includes monitoring the developing relationship between the AES and external actors.
  3. Engage with member states of the AES through diplomatic channels to understand their strategic objectives and encourage a focus on good governance, regional cooperation, and addressing the root causes of instability. Finding common ground to improve security and living standards in the Sahel should be a priority.

Read also | Sahel: Geopolitics of Jihadist Groups’ Activities and Regional Security

For further information, reports, and consulting about the Sahel region, contact us at

Related Posts