Sahel [fr]

"At the level of the Sahel, it is necessary to find adequate means for African armed forces to fight together, and effectively, against terrorism. Security, governance and development issues must be addressed jointly. This is precisely the purpose of the work of the Coalition for the Sahel."
Nicolas de Rivière, 13 June 2022, Statement of France at the Security Council
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The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, with G5 Sahel’s Heads of States, French President Emmanuel Macron, and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini - 18 September 2017
© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Coalition for the Sahel

The Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) face multiple challenges: more than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line and many countries are confronted with the threat of terrorism and organized crime. Faced with these common challenges, the response must be multi-faceted and integrated in order to cover political and security issues as well as humanitarian and development issues. To coordinate their actions, the heads of state of the region created the G5 Sahel in 2014.

Following the Pau Summit on January 13, 2020, France, the G5 Sahel countries and several countries and organizations involved in providing support to the Sahel, decided to set up a "coalition for the Sahel". Its purpose is to bring together in a coherent manner the various components of international action. It is organized into four complementary pillars: (1) the fight against armed terrorist groups, (2) capacity building for the armed forces, (3) support for the return of the State through support for the internal security forces and the strengthening of the penal chain, and (4) coordination of development actors. The N’Djamena Summit of February 16, 2021 agreed to the pursuit of these objectives, with particular emphasis on civilian actions and the return of the State to remote areas.

The Sahel Alliance

As security and development must go hand in hand to help stabilize the Sahel, the Sahel Alliance was launched in 2017 by France, Germany and the European Union. Its aim is to improve the effectiveness of development aid in the area and to be the G5 Sahel’s interlocutor on development issues. It coordinates the actions of the major development partners in the region in order to accelerate the implementation of actions that correspond directly to the needs expressed by the populations and that are capable of producing rapid and concrete results on the ground.

France contributes 1.6 billion euros to the Sahel Alliance’s project portfolio, which has already mobilized a total of 12 billion euros. The United Nations is a member of the Sahel Alliance through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
France remains committed to fighting the food crisis in the Sahel and West Africa, notably through the FARM initiative.

France supports the implementation of the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali

In 2012, a deep crisis took hold in Mali following the takeover of the North by independence and then Islamist groups and a coup against President Amadou Toumani Touré. At the request of the Malian president, France intervened militarily in January 2013 with Operation Serval to halt the advance of jihadist forces and allow the country to regain its territorial integrity. Presidential and legislative elections were held in 2013. France is part of the international mediation that supports the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali, which is the result of the Algiers process. This agreement marks an important step and its implementation is essential for the sustainable stabilization of Mali.

Mali has faced two coups d’état in nine months: August 2020 and May 2021 and is going through a transition phase. On July 3, 2022, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took note of the transition timetable submitted by the Transitional Authorities, which provides for a duration of 24 months starting March 29, 2022.

Both bilaterally and at the European level, France is firmly committed to the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. On February 17, 2022, noting that the political and operational conditions were no longer present to remain engaged in Mali, France decided, in consultation with its African and European partners, to reorganize the Barkhane operation outside of Malian territory. France will continue to provide security support to countries in the region that request it, in coordination with their partners, particularly European ones, to maintain stability and fight terrorism. France is also in discussion with other West African countries to strengthen its support to them.

The G5 Sahel joint force, an initiative supported by the UN and France

In terms of security, the G5 Sahel joint force was launched in 2017. It has 5,000 soldiers, divided into seven battalions. It is supported by the UN, the African Union and the European Union. At France’s initiative, the UN Security Council ensured strong and united support for the G5 Sahel joint force by unanimously adopting resolution 2359 in June 2017. This calls on the entire international community to provide logistical, operational and financial assistance to the G5 Sahel states’ initiative.

On December 8, 2017, the Security Council unanimously adopted, at the initiative of France, Resolution 2391. This resolution provides operational and logistical support, to the G5 Sahel joint force, via MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali. The action of the G5 Sahel joint force is complementary to the peacekeeping operation in Mali, MINUSMA, because it covers a wider area of action (the five G5 Sahel countries) and conducts anti-terrorist operations, which is not the role of MINUSMA.

International and European support to the G5 Sahel

Several European countries are militarily engaged in the Sahel, in particular within the Common Security and Defense Policy missions, EUTM Mali and EUCAP Sahel Mali. Task Force Takuba, which brought together European special forces, was deployed in Mali until February 2022.

Dernière modification : 26/08/2022

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