The European Commission adopted five new programmes and three top-ups of current programmes worth €115.5 million under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to complement ongoing efforts in the Sahel and Lake Chad region.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "We have witnessed in the recent weeks an increase of widespread violence and terrorist attacks in the Sahel and Lake Chad region. New EU programmes and top-ups to existing programmes worth €115.5 million will further strengthen our actions on the development and security fronts. They will also help reinforcing the State presence in fragile areas, create jobs for young people and protect migrants in need. In order to continue the good work of the Trust fund in the near future, its quickly depleting resources have to be replenished.”
With the security situation in the Sahel becoming increasingly volatile, the EU is committed to continuing its cooperation at regional and national level. It will support the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) in their efforts to provide a common response to major cross-border threats and regional development needs. An additional €10 million will strengthen the G5 Sahel's defence and security capacities, while €2 million will support the coordination of the Sahel Alliance. In Burkina Faso, an extra €30 million will reinforce the existing Sahel Emergency Programme to strengthen access to basic social services and foster community dialogue.
Other measures will bolster efforts to protect migrants, fight human trafficking and improve migration management. An additional €30 million will serve to protect migrants and refugees along the Central Mediterranean route and look for sustainable solutions in the Sahel and Lake Chad region. It will further increase the number of migrants benefitting from protection and voluntary return while ensuring their sustainable and dignified reintegration. In Niger, the Joint Investigation Team has dismantled 33 criminal networks and 210 smugglers have been convicted over the past two years. It will receive an extra €5.5 million to build on this success. In Ghana, €5 million for capacity-building and equipment will strengthen the country's border management.
Two measures aim specifically at developing economic and development opportunities. In Ghana, new activities worth €20 million will improve job prospects and encourage the transition to green and climate resilient economies. In Mali, an additional €13 million will support job creation and the provision of State public services in fragile security areas around Gao and Timbuktu.