12 February 2018
Erosion sur la côte ouest-africaine
On 4 February 2018, the French President travelled to Saint-Louis, a coastal Senegalese city affected by erosion. Cerema is involved in the WACA project to manage the West African coast, and helped organise this visit by Emmanuel Macron.

Cerema, a partner in the WACA project to manage the West African coast

The French President’s visit included the announcement of €15m in funding to build a new stone seawall to slow coastal erosion and protect the city. In time, new homes may need to be found for 10,000 residents of this city that is currently home to 50,000. Around 200 people have already been forced to move.

The French Embassy in Senegal enlisted the support of Cerema, due to our involvement in the WACA programme to protect the West African coast by furthering our understanding of all kinds of coastal risks and technical factors, in order to establish an investment plan to overcome these risks. The World Bank launched the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme in 2015 in response to demand from countries in the region for help managing their increasingly severe problems with coastal erosion and flooding.

Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritania, Sao Tomé-and-Principe, Senegal, and Togo all take part in the programme.


Better understanding the evolution of the coastline in Senegal, Togo, and Benin

Campement de personnes déplacées en raison du recul du trait de côte
A camp for people displaced by the receding shoreline 

As part of the WACA project, Cerema helped analyse long-term solutions to coastal erosion. We oversaw one section of the WACA project entitled “historical data for the future of the West African coast”, in which four partners (SHOM [1], IGN [2], BRGM [3]and Cerema) worked to analyse data from maritime maps, bathymetric surveys, and aerial photographs taken over a period of decades – essential to understanding how coastal erosion has progressed over time – before making the data available to West African countries (Senegal, Benin, Togo).

Cerema supported implementation of the WACA project and, more specifically:

  1. Acted as a liaison between public partners, World Bank departments, the Centre for Environmental Monitoring in Dakar, and government ministries, offering its expertise to these stakeholders in the form of analysis to inform their action, while ensuring agreement from local stakeholders in the field.

  2. Organised, attended, and served as the secretary for steering committees

  3. Gathered and summarised available knowledge and data on coastal erosion for the coastlines of Senegal, Benin, and Togo. One key benefit of this role was to compile a common framework based on mutual data.

  4. Cerema was also responsible for organising a seminar in France halfway through the project, in late 2018/early 2019, and a closing seminar in 2020 in an African host country.



[1] The French Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service

[2] National Institute for Geographical and Forestry Information

[3] Bureau of Geological and Mining Research