The question of the social contract is relevant in the specific case of Sahelian countries. In modern economies, the purposes of public authorities are the regulation, allocation, and redistribution of resources. Each of these functions is carried out through a formal agreement between the government and all other economic actors, namely households and firms. While socio-economic regulation by the state commits firms and households to abide by established rules, the government has a responsibility to ensure that these rules do not maximize the utility of a small group of individuals but rather the social utility. The social contract is thus broken when households and firms do not follow the rules, or the state does not implement regulations aimed at social welfare. Moreover, the allocation and redistribution of resources require that households and firms contribute to fiscal resources; it also entails that the state allocates and redistributes these resources as optimally and fairly as possible. The social contract is always broken when one fails to fulfill its commitment. By not honoring its part of the contract, one encourages the other to ignore the agreement. Thus, for countries undermined by various socio-economic crises or disagreements between the state and stakeholders, the social contract can help to identify the causes of these crises and to find solutions to deal with them.
The present conference has two main objectives. First, it will aim at highlighting the role of the social contract in the occurrence of socioeconomic problems. The Sahel countries are experiencing a combination of climate, food insecurity, armed conflicts, and demographic shocks with significant socio-economic consequences. Second, it will discuss how the renewal of the social contract can enable sustained and sustainable economic development in the Sahel. Indeed, this is a region where the poverty line is still very high, with a critical lack of infrastructure and financing that negatively affects firms' activities.