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International High Level Conference on the Sahel

Significantly more assistance for the Sahel region

The EU is supporting the Sahel region in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. With the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the five Sahel states not only protect people in their own region. They are also doing a valuable job for Europe.

Angela Merkel in conversation The G5 Sahel is an important regional initiative, says Angela Merkel Foto: Budesregierung/Kugler

Germany is providing a large financial contribution to achieving security and stability in the region.

Germany has realigned the priorities of its development cooperation, explained Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Between 2017 and 2020 alone, we will be spending 1.7 billion euros on the Sahel states and their development."

Angela Merkel called for international support, and declared that it is important to take a joined-up approach to security and development policy. To combat illegal migration, there must be both security and development in the regions. Many heads of state and government, and the delegations of numerous countries attended the conference. The Chancellor saw this as an important signal.

Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad together make up the G5 Sahel group. The Sahel is the name given to a belt that spans the African continent south of the Sahara Desert.

G5 Sahel Joint Force

In the military sector the donor states aim to provide more intensive support for the G5 Sahel Joint Force (Force Conjoint). It was established last year with a mandate to combat terrorism, organised crime, human trafficking and smuggling. The financing is becoming ever clearer. Since it was founded, Germany has provided about 20 million euros for the G5 Joint Force for vehicles, runway and infrastructure.

Since last year Germany has provided another 28 million euros, to finance training, a police programme, infrastructure construction and parallel measures. Germany is also involved in the EU’s three training missions (the military EUTM mission in Mali, and the two civilian missions EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger).

At the conference, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, pledged another 50 million euros to strengthen the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Last year the EU already provided 50 million euros for the Force.

New Sahel Alliance

Germany, France and the EU also presented the new Sahel Alliance, which is to flank the military engagement in the Sahel region and help achieve security for the civilian population.

But the region needs more, if it is to give the people genuine opportunities. Jobs for young people, good governance, rural development, decentralisation, climate and energy are only a few of the priorities. Projects in these areas are to be better focussed and coordinated in future. To this end, Germany will be providing a minimum of 180 million euros as part of its development cooperation this year.

Stronger political support

In addition to military and development cooperation, the EU supports the countries of the Sahel in the form of a political partnership. It has regularly staged EU-G5 dialogues, in order to strengthen political cooperation with the Sahel states. The focus here is on security, migration, youth employment, humanitarian assistance and long-term development assistance.

The EU is also engaged in the peace process in Mali and in improving the political situation across the region.

The International High Level Conference on the Sahel was staged in response to an invitation issued by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and the G5 Presidency. It was attended by numerous EU heads of government, high-ranking representatives of the European Commission, the G5 states (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Chad), the African Union and the United Nations.

Freitag, 23. Februar 2018

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