Dr. Hind Juma Ali teaching at the Institute of Management in Rusafa


The West African region and the Sahel are an arena for competition for influence and dominance between Russia and France, in light of many elements and determinants of the strategic importance of the region and some pivotal issues such as security, terrorism, migration, development, and investments, interaction with which is an important springboard to gain a foothold in the region, and this was reinforced by the accusation of French President Emmanuel Macron to Russia, in 2020, to follow a strategy aimed at fueling anti-French sentiment on the African continent. The Sahel region is witnessing competition from both sides, at all political, economic, security, and military levels, intending to achieve a foothold in the region rich in resources and natural resources, making it an attractive target for the attention of many international powers in the future.

The African continent and its various countries have gained special attention from the international powers following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, as it seemed that the international powers are seeking to transfer part of their struggle to control the international system to the African continent, in addition to the attempts of these forces to compensate for the losses suffered as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the sanctions imposed on Russia, especially concerning economic aspects, these forces have viewed rapprochement with the countries of the continent as one of the tools for victory in this conflict. A year after the Russian-Ukrainian War.

Relations between the Russian state and Western countries have steadily deteriorated since 2014, especially between Russia and France, whose relations were already witnessing twists and turns on the Libyan issue, and the Russian desire to invest in an area strongly linked to France highlights this rivalry, and this leads to a real struggle for influence between the two countries in a region that is particularly strategic for them. So the following question arises: to what extent by what means does Russia consolidate its influence in a space where France has historical influence? To answer the above question, it is important to address the strategic importance of this region, which qualifies it to be the subject of conflict and conflict between international powers in many axes, as follows:

The first axis: the importance of the West African region and the African Sahel

The geopolitical importance of Africa stems from its strategic location, which is an important corridor in global transportation routes, its control over the most important water bodies from the point of international navigation, and with its natural wealth and resources, especially the West African region, but due to the lack of material, technical, technological and human resources of African countries, the growing ambitions of the great countries, and the intersection of their interests and influence, the region is suffering from severe multilateral polarization, and the region has become the scene of a state of feverish international conflict for more than two centuries, and more recently the collision of American influence and European, and the growing Chinese and Russian influence and their aggravation, and we also do not lose sight of the presence The Turkish influence, which has had a historical presence in the region since the time of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, and began to find a foothold for it in search of new interests and influence in it.

The African coast extends to cover the entire distance from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and this region represents a geographical scope, an economic and military benefit, a point of competition for many international actors and external ambitions, by exploiting the security challenges the region is experiencing, as a result of the spread of unrest and instability in it; and due to the economic and strategic importance enjoyed by West Africa and the Sahel, it is an important seaport as one of the oil corridors at the global level, as it is the central gateway for oil tankers, a crossing and a main artery for international trade, as a result of the extension of its water crossings, as well as it is considered a corridor of movements The security of some of the major powers heading to the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, and a huge source of wealth that makes it one of the most important regions in the world.