Sahel High-Level Brainstorming Seminar 


19 June 2023


09:00 - 13:00


Europe room of the Egmont Palace, Entrance via 24B, rue des Petits Carmes - 1000 Brussels

Type of Event

High-Level Seminar

On invitation only


Mrs Ludivine Dedonder  Minister of Defence; Mrs Hadja Lahbib Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Federal Cultural Institutions; Mrs Caroline Gennez  Minister of Development Cooperation and of the Major Cities Policy and the Egmont Institute 

Belgium’s presence in the Sahel region has increased over the past five years. Bilaterally, the establishment of three new Embassies in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and the designation of a Special Envoy Sahel have indicated the region’s importance. These developments have taken place following, and in parallel to the Belgian Defense military assistance mission Operation New Nero in Niger, which has entailed the training of over 1000 Nigerien troops, while Belgium has increased its development cooperation in the country through ENABEL projects amongst others, with a new country program in Niger of 50m€, and a thematic program on climate change in the Sahel region for the same amount. Multilaterally, Belgium has been represented in the UN mission in Mali with both troops and the Force Commander, as well as EUTM Sahel in Mali, again, with both troops and a Belgian Head of Mission, while in Niger, the civilian CSDP mission EUCAP Sahel also has been directed by a Belgian Head of Mission.

Due to Belgium’s increased focus and presence in the Sahel region, a new Belgian Sahel Strategy has been drafted to provide guidance for current and future Belgian initiatives and to facilitate a comprehensive approach, both on a national and on an international level. This Sahel High-Level Brainstorming Seminar aims to discuss the success or failure of previous bi- and multilateral Sahel strategies and reflect on future developments by bringing together politicians, policy makers, practitioners, and academic experts for an open discussion under Chatham House rules.

The Seminar aims to:

  • Facilitate exchange of experience and expertise by different actors working in or on the Sahel region
  • Provide an in-depth reflection on lessons learned
  • Reflect on the different Sahel Strategies and discuss new challenges



Provisional Program

08:30 – Welcome of Participants

09:00 – 10:30             Panel 1:  Lessons Learned during the past decade 

Moderator: Dr. Nina Wilén
Director – Africa Programme Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations

Ornella Moderan
Senior Analyst – Security Policy, Clingendael Institute, Netherlands

Bart Ouvry
Director General of the Africa Museum in Tervuren
Head of the EU Delegation in Bamako, Mali 2019 – 2023
Johannes Hoogeveen
Practice Manager for North Africa and the Middle East  – Poverty & Equity Global Practice World Bank

This panel is held under the Chatham House Rule

10:30 – 11:00            Speeches by:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Development and Cooperation
Minister of Defense

11:30 – 13:00             Panel 2: Sahel Strategies & Future Challenges 

Moderator: Bart De Groof
Ambassador, Special Envoy for the Sahel – Foreign Affairs, Belgium

General Hervé Pierre
French Armed Forces
Barkhane Representative for relations with the G5 Sahel countries 2020-2021
Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni
Regional Director – Institute for Security Studies
Regional office for West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, Dakar, Senegal

Ambassador Saïd Djinnit – Former UN Special Representative for West Africa & AU Commissioner for Peace and Security

Delina Goxho – Associate Fellow Egmont Institute, PhD researcher at Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), Pisa, Italy

This panel is held under the Chatham House Rule


Please note that this is an in-person event only.



(Photo credit: Nina Wilén)


Bd de Waterloo 2a, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

See the itinerary