In 2011, the European Union adopted the first "Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel". This strategy emphasized the link between security and development. It innovated by putting in place an "integrated approach" where the EU could use development cooperation, military cooperation and political relations together in a complementary way. Revised in 2014, the strategy was complemented by a Regional Action Plan for the Sahel covering the period 2015-2020.
The Sahel is an important area for the EU, which has provided together with its Member States massive (EUR 8 billion since 2014) and diversified support (including in terms of security and development, with the launch of the EUCAP Sahel Niger mission in 2012, EUTM Mali in 2013, and EUCAP Sahel Mali in 2015). In addition to the numerous bilateral and multilateral cooperations of EU Member States with the Sahel.
Despite this support, the situation in the Sahel has not improved much: many areas do not have access to basic public services; the administration suffers from weak capacity and is not present throughout the territory (what makes illegal activities easier); corruption is frequent; the legitimacy of State authorities is often questioned by part of the population; economic growth is not absorbing high population growth; more and more young people and women want to play a different role in society; while tensions within and between communities exist; whereas extremist groups take advantage of this context to proliferate.
At the same time, regional actors took initiatives with the creation of the G5 Sahel in 2014, followed by the operationalization of the G5 Force. Those efforts have been reinforced by the International Coalition for the Sahel launched in 2020.
The EU therefore decided in 2020 to revise its Strategy for the Sahel. To take stock of recent developments, as well as to make its integrated approach with the Sahel more effective. In a spirit of equal partnership and mutual accountability, oriented towards concrete results.
Your opinion matters: please tell us in a few words how, concretely, the EU can improve its action in the Sahel.