Men ferry people and goods on dugouts on Niger River near Niamey, Niger. (©Arno Trümper/adelphi)

Lake Chad used to be a thriving economic hub and the bread basket for the region, with people, goods and livestock freely moving across national borders and between the markets of four countries’ informal trading networks.

If peace is restored and the lake is carefully managed by the four countries that share it, the lake could once again be an engine for sustainable livelihoods and stability in the region, increasing food security and reducing poverty.