Drugs and people-smuggling are rife, while jihadists mount terrorist attacks. Can the G-5 regional grouping make a difference?
Foreign ministers from the Sahel Group of Five – Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – have just held a joint high-level meeting with United Nations officials in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. This follows talks three months ago in Brussels with the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who has just been to Niger on her first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa.
The EU has now complemented its long-term Sahel development agenda with a five-year (2015-20) action plan to tackle urgent concerns that have a direct impact on security –radicalisation, migration, trafficking, youth unemployment. The initiatives will be at least partly paid for from a new 1 billion euro (US$1.12 bn.) trust fund for the Sahel. Promoted by Spain, this will supplement the EU's existing €5 bn. aid budget for the G-5 states.
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