Photograph — ECA

As part of its commitment to help tackle insecurity and irregular migration in the G5 Sahel region, the European Union (EU) has announced an additional €115.5 million support to complement ongoing efforts in the region. The additional funding is set to replenish the depleting resources required to carry out projects and meet the ever increasing needs in the region.

According to a press statement, the European Commission has adopted five new programmes and three top-ups of current programmes worth €115.5 million. The funds will come from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa which was created in November 2015 with the specific aim of addressing the root causes of irregular migration to the EU from the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and the North of Africa regions.

“We have witnessed in the recent weeks an increase of widespread violence and terrorist attacks in the Sahel and Lake Chad region. New EU programmes and top-ups to existing programmes worth €115.5 million will further strengthen our actions on the development and security fronts. They will also help reinforcing the State presence in fragile areas, create jobs for young people and protect migrants in need,” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said.

Considering their ailing economies which suffer effects of insecurity, the EU has taken further steps to contribute to the establishment of effective state control in Sahel countries which include; Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Two measures aimed specifically at developing economic and development opportunities.

Part of the funds will be used for ongoing projects in order to increase capacity and improve impact especially in the area of security which is becoming increasingly volatile. The reinforcement is indicative of the EU’s commitment in its cooperation with the G5 Sahel countries to enhance regional development needs including security and migration issues.

In Burkina Faso, an extra 30 million will reinforce the existing Sahel Emergency Programme to strengthen access to basic social services and promote community dialogue. An additional €10 million will strengthen the G5 Sahel’s defence and security capacities, while €2 million will support the coordination of the Sahel Alliance.

Other measures address major cross-border threats and human trafficking. An additional €30 million will serve to protect migrants and refugees along the Central Mediterranean route and look for sustainable solutions in the Sahel and Lake Chad region. It will further increase the number of migrants benefitting from protection and voluntary return while ensuring their sustainable and dignified reintegration.

In Niger, the Joint Investigation Team has dismantled 33 criminal networks and 210 smugglers have been convicted over the past two years. It will receive an extra €5.5 million to build on this success. In Ghana, €5 million for capacity-building and equipment will strengthen the country’s border management.

In Ghana, new activities worth €20 million will improve job prospects and encourage the transition to a green and climate resilient economy. In Mali, an additional €13 million will support job creation and the provision of State public services in fragile security areas around Gao and Timbuktu.

This new commitment demonstrates the EU’s confidence in the EU Emergency Trust Fund Africa’s ability to make a major impact in its target region. Today’s assistance adds to the 188 programmes already approved across the three regions (North of Africa, Sahel and Lake Chad region and the Horn of Africa), worth a total of €3.6 billion. This amount includes 5 cross-region programmes.

For G5 Sahel, the EU’s announcement is a welcome relief to foster its efforts in creating a more stable environment and a better economy.

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