European Union to Allocate $216Mln to Support Security in Africa's Sahel Region - Mogherini

Florence Fletcher
February 23, 2018

The EU is also a member and key supporter of the newly formed Alliance for the Sahel, set up to coordinate existing EU and Member States development assistance better in the region, in a faster and more interlinked way than before through joint action. In 2017, the five African nations launched a multinational force aimed at fighting terrorists in the Sahel region and this initiative had been supported by the worldwide community.

The total "goes far beyond our initial expectations", Mogherini said.

An International High Level Conference on the Sahel concluded in Brussels Friday after mobilizing international political support for the Sahel region and pledges of 414 million euro (USD 508 million) to support the Joint security Force of the G5 Sahel. Since then, the European Union has stepped up cooperation with this African-led initiative to build a strong partnership on many fronts: from political dialogue, to development and humanitarian support, to strengthening security and tackling irregular migration.

The European Union announced an extra 50 million euros ($61 million) for the G5 Sahel force at talks with heads of state from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, adding to around 280 million euros already pledged by global donors.

"The Sahel is one of Europe's frontiers".

Worldwide donors have raised half a billion dollars for a multi-national military operation in West Africa's Sahel region, the EU's top diplomat said on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and militants reaching its shores.

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The European Union is investing 8 billion euros in development aid in the region, according to EU data.

"We confirmed our commitment to the fundamental role of the EU".

"We must put an end to this chaos by restoring the authority of the Libyan state to the whole of its territory". "The Sahel is a shield, a dike that must never burst", said Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou.

On the occasion, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Instability has many factors so our response must be linked and ambitious". However, officials in Paris denied the government was seeking an exit strategy for Operation Barkhane, its own anti-jihadi mission in the region.

But the European Union insists it's not just about security. Brussels said political help and development assistance are vital in a region wracked by extreme poverty, harsh climate, food shortages and health crises.

A former colonial power in Africa, France is also set to increase by 40 percent to 1.2 billion euros its funding of development in the region over the next five years.

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