Together, the G5 Sahel countries – Chad, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania – cover an area larger than the European Union. Their population, five time fewer than the EU one, has doubled in the last 20 years, reaching nowadays 84 million people. Most of the population of the G5 Sahel countries is under-15s (47 %) and struggle to access basic public services like security, justice, healthcare, education, and water.
According to the World Bank, the average GDP per inhabitant in the region was USD 777 in 2019, 45 times lower than the EU one.
From a security perspective, the Sahel countries face threats such as terrorism, trans-national crime, resurgence of armed rebellion and inter-communal conflicts. Such menaces go far beyond the capacity of their security and defence structures to address them.
The need to respond to regional challenges from a joint political security and development perspective is the reason why the G5 Sahel was created as an intergovernmental cooperation framework on 16 February 2014. To face an increased deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel, aiming at strengthening the G5 Sahel regional cooperation structures and supporting cross border cooperation, the Council of the European Union underlined, the importance of the regionalization of its Common Security and Defence (CSDP) action.
In this framework, and within the context of the wider EU engagement in the region, the EU Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell (RACC) was created in June 2019.