EU assists West Africa with $56 Million to fight Terrorism


The rate at which the level of terrorism in the world increases is very alarming. Millions of people had lost their lives to this deadly act. It has been confirmed that the vast Sahel region south of the Sahara is a breeding ground for terrorism, since security gaps between territories loom large.

It has been recently reported that the European Union is ready to give out 50 million euros ($56 million) to fight terrorism in the vast West African Sahel region south of the Sahara desert that is a breeding ground for terrorists.
In addition, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini released a statement recently during a visit to Bamako, the capital of Mali:

“The stability and development of the Sahel region are crucial, not only for Africa but also for Europe. We are neighbors and what happens on one of our continents has an impact on the other,” Mogherini said at the annual conference of EU representatives and the five francophone countries (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger) known as the Sahel G-5.

“The idea is for regional forces to improve their cooperation in tackling terrorism, since terrorist attacks go beyond national frontiers,” said Paul Melly, a fellow of the Africa program at the London-based think tank Chatham House.

“In the long term it’s a building block for the day when the UN forces and potentially the French deployment in Sahel are withdrawn in several years time. The hope is by that stage the Sahel countries will have a strong enough military capacity of their own,” Melly said in a recent interview.

The EU force is expected to become operational at the end of this year and will reinforce the French and UN peacekeeping troops already stationed in the region. This will however help to reduce terrorism in the region.
Further more, the EU funding however is a drop in the bucket compared to the 1.8 billion euros the bloc is already investing in development aid for the region. It was confirmed that the poverty and harsh environmental conditions in the vast arid region has made the country very easy for terrorist to penetrate.

“It is a great place for terrorism and drug trafficking to develop. The borders are not well-controlled. The area is huge. Just Mali alone is three times the size of France,” said Remi Hemeryck, director-general of SOS Sahel, a grassroots NGO organization that seeks to tackle the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in the region.

“It makes sense for all the states to coordinate efforts for protecting civilians and organizations working in development, but at the same time it is necessary to invest in social and economic development, too. The 50 million euros may be a beginning for better coordination between the G-5 countries. It is important not to leave gaps between the territories,” he added.

In order to strengthen the importance of security in the region, French President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Mali in May shortly after taking office. It was his first official trip outside Europe. During his visit, he called on other European countries, including Germany, to assist these countries with additional military personnel in order to aid development.

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