In a new report from the International Rescue Committee, Climate and Humanitarian Crisis in the Central Sahel, we find that policy decisions taken over centuries until today have resulted in the systematic economic neglect and political marginalization of the peripheries of these states. Political decisions routinely preference economic development in capital regions at the expense of outer-lying communities, concentrating resources and investments in the capitals and failing to diversify the economy. This served to perpetuate reliance on climate-vulnerable sectors, such as livestock and agriculture. As a result, it is in these communities that conflict, climate shocks and humanitarian crises (or some combination of all three) often take hold.