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Junta Regimes in the Sahel Give Rise to the Business of Migration

Agadez is widely seen as the “gateway to the Sahara”, its history inextricably linked to the passage of caravans of traders and travellers. In recent decades, Agadez has become a hub for migratory routes from sub-Saharan Africa to Libya and Algeria, and then northwards towards Europe. In West and North Africa, the transit of migrants has created economic opportunities for thousands of families in extremely poor areas. But after the 2016 law was enacted, hundreds of drivers, brokers and travel agents were charged with trafficking, arrested overnight, and their vehicles seized. This led to a notable decrease in attempted crossings and the number of visitors to Agadez. But away from the political machinations in Niamey and European concerns, dusty Agadez has not seen such frenetic activities fuelled with optimism in years.