G5 Sahel: urgent funding needs
On the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, France hosted on 13 December a meeting in support of the G5 Sahel where Macron met with his counterparts from the G5 countries -- Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Idriss Déby (Chad) and Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz (Mauritania). Other heads of government, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other partners, including the UN, the African Union and the European Union, also participated in the discussions. The objective of the meeting was to speed up the structuring of the G5 Sahel at the military, political and financial levels, and make it operational in a context where the jihadists in the Sahel are exacerbating the pressure on the region and its stability, which has already been weakened by the problematic peace process. One of the main issues is the initiative’s funding; operational needs are estimated at EUR 400 million. A first portion, of EUR 250 million, is needed to implement the initial actions, including forming a force of 5 000 people by mid-2018, but the international contributions that have been received are not enough to achieve this first objective. Following the meeting, Saudi Arabia and the United States should confirm a significant pledge, but a second round of financing will still be necessary to address the funding gap. It will take place at a summit in Brussels in February and will include Algeria and Senegal.