Western donors pledge $2.3bn in anti-terror aid for Africa's Sahel

accreditation
iStock
iStock

Western donors have pledged nearly $2.3 billion in funding aimed at preventing terrorism and lawlessness along the southern rim of the Sahara, the head of the G5 Sahel grouping said on Thursday.

"These pledges from our partners broadly cover the overall needs" of around 40 development projects to fight jihadism in the region, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou told reporters after a donor conference in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott.

The five Sahel states - Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger - have been struggling against extremism and lawlessness in the Sahel since a jihadist revolt that began with a Tuareg separatist uprising in northern Mali in 2012.

The EU's International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica had told the conference that the bloc's Sahel Priority Investment Programme (PIP) had reached almost $910 million with an extra $138 million announced on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Paris would add an extra 220 million euros to 280 million euros already pledged, for a total of 500 million.

"Half of this sum is for projects already planned or under way. The other half will be awarded in a speedy way over the next two years to enable you to meet your priorities," Le Drian told the conference.

The five Sahel countries had sought $2.1 billion to help them fund projects in border regions vulnerable to jihadists. They themselves provide 13% of that sum.

Governments hope that with an array of projects, including building schools and health centres and improving access to water, they can prevent communities from falling under the influence of extremists.

Jihadism in the region has been fuelled by the chaos that engulfed Libya in 2011, the Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

The extremists were largely driven out of Mali in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

The France-backed fledgling African regional force fighting jihadists is also suffering from lack of funding, and shortfalls in equipment and training have led to delays in its operations.

As well as fighting terrorism it tackles smuggling and illegal immigration networks that operate in these vast, remote areas on the Sahara's southern fringe.

A devastating attack in June on the force's headquarters in Mali, claimed by an al-Qaeda-linked group, destroyed the communications room, prompting a brief halt in operations.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
With the Springboks losing their last two matches against Australia, how concerned are you?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Very concerned! Something is not right ...
59% - 1785 votes
I'm not worried. Every team has a bad game. The Boks will bounce back.
17% - 517 votes
It's too early to tell. Let's see how they go against the All Blacks.
24% - 731 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.79
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
20.19
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.34
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.72
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.9%
Gold
1,765.47
+0.6%
Silver
22.27
-0.6%
Palladium
1,890.12
-6.4%
Platinum
914.77
-3.1%
Brent Crude
75.34
-0.4%
Top 40
55,246
-2.4%
All Share
61,453
-2.2%
Resource 10
55,133
-2.4%
Industrial 25
79,201
-2.4%
Financial 15
13,750
-1.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE