EU boosts funding for Sahel military forces

On 23 February, the European Union announced an increase in military and development aid for the Sahel region in West Africa and doubled its contribution to €100 million euros for a new G5 Sahel Joint Force consisting of soldiers of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania that should be ready by March.

After the international conference of EU, AU, UN and other international donors held in Brussels, the target amount was reached and the total of pledged €414 million will be spent on the creation of a new Sahel force. The force will be tasked with overseeing border security, fighting Islamist militants as well as humanitarian and development work. One of the other reasons for EU's growing interest in the region is the use of the Sahel route to the North African coast by incoming migrant asylum seekers and people smugglers. The involvement of other states, including the US and Saudi Arabia, and the achievement of the target figure highlights the priority of reaching stability in this area, also due to the deteriorating security situation in Mali. However, some rights groups fear that the EU's interests in the Sahel are too limited to security issues.

About author: Dominika Jandová

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