The note examines regional planning, and future participatory methods for economic development in West Africa, based on the work carried out by the Club du Sahel - a branch of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - responsible for coordinating northern donor agencies, in support of food security, and natural resource management in the desert-edge portions of West Africa, in cooperation with the Interstate Committee for Struggle Against Drought in the Sahel. The results prompted controversy, because of disagreements between Europeans - favoring urban-oriented scenarios - and North Americans - more inclined toward rural-oriented ones - including the views of Northerners who provided the analysis, in contrast to that of African researchers who felt somehow shortchanged. However, collaboration on a participatory study of decentralization, and capacity building, involving case studies of local communities, assumed a major new development, and management responsibilities on their own. Through a trial methodology, researchers invited debate, and analysis on future community, and regional cooperation. The work covered examining changes occurred in communities, country, and the West Africa region, concentrating on the environment, demography, economy, society and culture, and politics. Findings suggest the exercise transformed the strategy into a set of tools for self-assessment, and strategic planning of local associations, and businesses.