It was five in the afternoon and Buba Badjie, a boat captain, had just brought his catch to the shore. He had spent twelve hours at sea off Bakau, a major fish landing site in The Gambia.
The government of Mali and Touareg rebels representing Azawad, a territory in northern Mali which declared unilateral independence in 2012 after a Touareg rebellion drove out the Malian army, resumed peace talks in Algiers last week, intended to end decades of conflict.
Cattle herder Mohamed Ould Bouthiah has seen the future, and he likes what he sees. "Five of my cows are crossbreeds with a European variety, and those five together produce 80 litres of milk a day."
"The palm tree is a means of survival," said Tahya Mint Mohamed, a 44-year-old Mauritanian farmer and mother of three children. “We eat its dates; we make mats, beds and chairs from palms; the leaves are also used to make baskets and to feed our livestock.”