France’s decision to pull troops out of the Sahel invites a less military approach

The immediate beneficiaries of this proposed exit strategy by France will be the Islamist extremists. To stop this from happening, France and its partners need to re-calibrate their focus beyond military interventions to strengthening state capacity across the region. To do this efficiently and effectively, they need to expend political capital across the region by carrying along key stakeholders including elites, locals and traditional rulers, all of whom have a say in the peace process, while helping to provide the platforms and environment for these conversations to take place.