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AFP
December 7, 2018

EU, France pledge €1.3b anti-terror aid for Africa Sahel

World

AFP
December 7, 2018

NOUAKCHOTT: The European Union and France on Thursday said their total investment in development funding aimed at preventing terrorism in African Sahel countries would rise to 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion), as the region struggles with jihadism and lawlessness.

The five Sahel states — Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger — have been struggling against extremism and lawlessness along the Sahara’s southern rim since a jihadist revolt that began with a Tuareg separatist uprising in northern Mali in 2012.

The EU’s International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica told a conference in the Mauritanian capital that the bloc’s Sahel Priority Investment Programme (PIP) “now totals almost 800 million euros”, with an extra 122 million euros announced Thursday. France will invest 500 million euros for the “priorities” of the G5 Sahel, added French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, explaining that the country will add an extra 220 million euros to the 280 million euros already pledged. “Half of this sum is for projects already planned or under way. The other half will be awarded in a speedy way over the next two years to enable you to meet your priorities,” Le Drian said. The five Sahel countries told the meeting they needed 1.9 billion euros to help them fund projects in border regions vulnerable to jihadists. They themselves provide 13 percent of that sum. Governments hope that with an array of projects, including building schools, health centres and improving access to water, they can prevent communities from falling under the influence of extremists.

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