Donors step up support offered to Sahel region

10 Dec 18

International donor funding to prevent terrorism and improve security in the African Sahel countries is set to rise to over €1bn.

The European Union and France announced on Thursday their total donation to the countries would reach €1.3bn at a donor meeting held in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott last week.

The five Sahel states – Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger – have struggled to fight extremism, terrorism and illegal immigration.

In 2014, the countries set up the G5 Sahel group to promote closer cooperation and address regional challenges, including extreme poverty, terrorism and human trafficking.

At a conference to secure funding to tackle along the Sahara’s southern rim this week, the G5 said they needed €1.9bn, with 13% coming from the five countries themselves.

Neven Mimica, the EU’s international co-operation and development commissioner, told a conference that the EU’s programme for investment in these countries “now totals almost €800m”, after an extra €122m was announced.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said at the conference the country would invest €500m for the G5 Sahel Joint Force’s key priorities. The joint force is a UN-backed initiative including the five countries.

Le Drian said France would give an extra €220m. It has already pledged €280m.

The Saudi Press Agency said today its government had pledged €100m to the G5 Sahel countries.

Donors and the G5 Sahel governments hope that the projects, which include building schools, health centres and improving access to water, would prevent communities and people from coming under the influence of extremists.

The European Commission also said in a statement the money would fund a programme to improve access to electricity in Niger’s rural areas and improve human rights, governance and build stronger judicial systems and security in the G5 Sahel countries.

Extremism in the region has been fuelled a number of events over the past decade, including the Libyan civil war that broke out in 2011 and the militant take-over of the northern parts of Mali in 2012.


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