UK’s new Joint Sahel Department
During her mission to South Africa in August 2018, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced an intention to scale up development efforts in the Sahel region. “It will mean supporting countries and societies on the front line of instability in all of its forms. So we will invest more in countries like Mali, Chad and Niger that are waging a battle against terrorism in the Sahel – including by opening new embassies in Niger and Chad and having a much larger presence in Mali,” she declared. Following these commitments, the UK has built a new Joint Sahel Department, which is now operational. The Joint Sahel Department brings together the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID) and oversees UK diplomacy and development policy, relationships, funding and activity in the Sahel. Officials from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Home Office will also join the department. The Joint Sahel Department works closely with the UK’s embassies and offices in Bamako, N’Djamena, Niamey and Nouakchott. Over the next few years, it plans to increase its diplomatic and development efforts using an integrated approach that connects security, diplomatic, development and humanitarian work. The UK currently provides some GBP 85 million in bilateral aid to support stability, development and humanitarian needs. The country is also an active member of the Sahel envoys network and the Sahel Alliance.