Community of Sahel-Saharan States

Community of Sahel-Saharan States
Community of Sahel-Saharan States
تجمع دول الساحل والصحراء
Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens
Headquarters Tripoli, Libya
Official language English, French, Arabic and Portuguese
Type Trade bloc
Membership 28 member states
 -  Secretary General Mohamed Al-Madani Al-Azhari
 -  Signed 4 February 1998 
African Union

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CEN-SAD or the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (French: Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens Arabic: تجمع دول الساحل والصحراء) aims to create a free trade area. There are questions with regard to whether its level of economic integration qualifies it under the Enabling clause.



CEN-SAD was established in February 1998 by six countries, but since then its membership has grown to 28. One of its main goals is to achieve economic unity through the implementation of the free movement of people and goods in order to make the area occupied by member states a free trade area. At the international level, CEN-SAD gained observer status at the UN General Assembly in 2001 and concluded association and cooperation accords with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) as well as with UN specialized agencies and institutions such as UNDP, WHO, UNESCO, FAO, and the Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel.

All CEN-SAD member countries are also participating in other African economic unions, that have the aim to create a common African Economic Community. The envisioned Free Trade Area of CEN-SAD would be hard to practically implement, because it is overlapping with the envisioned Customs Unions of ECOWAS, ECCAS and COMESA and other trade blocs more advanced in their integration.

2007 Summit

The African leaders sought to reconcile differences between neighbours Chad and Sudan over the Darfur conflict and boost Somalia's embattled Transitional Federal Government at a regional summit in Libya on June 3, 2007.[1]


Beginning in 2009, CEN-SAD member states will take part in planned periodic international sporting and cultural festivals, known as the Community of Sahel-Saharan States Games (Jeux de la Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens).[1] The first CEN-SAD Games were held in Niamey, Niger from 4–14 February 2009. Thirteen nations competed in Under-20 sports (athletics, basketball, judo, football, handball, table tennis and traditional wrestling) and six fields of cultural competition (song, traditional creation and inspiration dancing, painting, sculpture and photography). The second CEN-SAD Games are scheduled to take place in the Chadian capitol of N’Djamena in February 2011.[2]

List of members

Founding members:

Countries that joined later:


External links