The European Union has mobilized the international community for significant political, security and development support in Africa’s Sahel region. Last week, the EU co-chaired a conference on the Sahel, in cooperation with the United Nations, the African Union and the G5 Sahel group of countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mai, Mauritania and Niger. The gathering has mobilized €414 million to support the Joint Security Force of the G5 Sahel whilst reinforcing the coordination of sustainable development efforts in the region.
President Jean-Claude Juncker commented on the occasion that “instability has many factors, so our response must be linked and ambitious. Security and development must go hand in hand. To do so, we must continue to mobilize all the instruments we have at our disposal. The EU has doubled its support to €100 million to reinforce the operationalization of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and I am proud that all our friends and partners of the Sahel joined us in these efforts.”
The international players also agreed to reinforce political support in bringing more stability to the Sahel with a special focus on the Mali peace process. Those that threaten the process can be targeted by sanctions. The EU and its partners have also vowed to increase financial assistance for security: the EU doubled its financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force to enhance regional security. The Sahel is marred by jihadists and armed groups exploiting political and security vacuums across the region.
The EU also promised to more effectively coordinate its development efforts. The bloc provided €8 billion in development aid over 2014-2020, making it the biggest donor to the G5 Sahel countries. The EU will be a critical player in the Alliance for the Sahel launched in July 2017. This is a new initiative aiming to deliver development aid faster and more efficiently in the most fragile regions. The Alliance is open to all the partners of the international community.