European Union mobilises international community for Africa’s Sahel region
The International High Level Conference on the Sahel, which took place today in Brussels under the auspices of the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union and the G5 Sahel group of countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger) made it possible to confirm political commitment to the Sahel countries, mobilise EUR 414 million to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force and reinforce the coordination and effectiveness of sustainable development aid in the region.
On the occasion, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: ‘Faced with so many factors making for instability and all so closely-linked, our response must be suitably ambitious and comprehensive. Security and development go hand in hand and we must continue to mobilise all the instruments we have at our disposal to guarantee a visible impact in the region. With EUR 100 million mobilised by the European Union, we are doubling our support to reinforce the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and I am proud that all partners and friends of the Sahel are joining us in these efforts.’
Key outcomes of the Conference:
- Reinforced political support to the region: the final Communiqué adopted reaffirms the commitment to assisting the G5 Sahel countries to bring about greater stability in the region. Important support was given, in particular, to the Mali peace process and it was reiterated that those who threaten the process may face sanctions.
- Increased financial assistance for security: the EU doubled its funding to the G5 Sahel Joint Force to EUR 100 million in order to improve regional security and fight terrorism. The European Union and its Member States together contribute half of international support to the Joint Force. This extra funding fully meets the needs of the Joint Force and gives it the necessary means to improve security conditions in the region.
- Better coordination of development efforts: with EUR 8 billion in development aid (2014-2020), the EU is the biggest donor to the G5 Sahel countries. The EU plays a major role in the Alliance for the Sahel launched in July 2017, which aims to coordinate and deliver aid more effectively in the most fragile parts of the region. The initiative is open to all partners of the international community wishing to be involved.
In 2014, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger set up the ‘G5 Sahel’ group of countries to foster close cooperation in the region and tackle the major challenges that these countries face, in particular extreme poverty, terrorism and human trafficking, which has potential spill-over effects outside the region. Since then, the EU has stepped up cooperation with this African-led initiative to build a strong partnership on many fronts: political dialogue development and humanitarian support, strengthening security and tackling irregular migration.
23 February 2018