G5 Sahel: Niger transfers presidency to Burkina Faso

The five heads of state of the G5 Sahel countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - gathered at their 5th summit on 5 February in Ouagadougou, following a series of expert and ministerial meetings. The rotating presidency was officially transferred from Niger to Burkina Faso for a one-year mandate. Despite efforts to quickly scale-up the joint military force’s operations, the situation in the Sahel remains highly unstable. Beyond the frequent jihadist attacks, inter-communal violence has also destabilised a number of communities in the region and several hundred schools have had to close because of the conflicts. Sustainable funding for the joint military force remains a key challenge. The G5 Sahel countries are still struggling to develop way to sustainably fund the joint force. G5 Sahel leaders called for “closer co‑operation between the G5 Sahel and the United Nations”, including assistance for the joint force under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.  Many bi-lateral pledges to support the joint force have been made; China announced a grant of USD 45 million to support the G5 Sahel joint force in January and Japan pledged USD 23 million to support G5 Sahel countries. According to the outgoing G5 Sahel chairman Mahamadou Issoufou, the resources available for the first year of its operation amounted to EUR 294 million, covering nearly 75% of what was necessary. However, the joint force has been slow to start its operations. In their final communiqué, G5 Sahel leaders committed to make the joint force fully operational as soon as possible. As regards funding for the G5 Sahel Priority Investment Programme (PIP) covering the first phase 2019-21, G5 Sahel leaders commended the pledges made during the partners and donors co-ordination conference in Nouakchott in December 2018, a sum of EUR 2.4 billion. They also acknowledged the importance of working with the Sahel Alliance whose 12 members participate in the development and stabilisation of the Sahel with projects worth EUR 1.3 billion. In their final communiqué, G5 Sahel leaders also committed to follow up on the donor pledges to implement the PIP. In addition, they announced the creation of a Sahelian Centre for Threat Analysis and Early Warning (CSAMAP) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and committed to setting up the Regional Police Academy in Koundoul, Chad soon. A feasibility study on the G5 Sahel railway project will be launched with funding from G5 Sahel countries. The 6th G5 Sahel summit is scheduled for February 2020 in Nouakchott, Mauritania.