Nouakchott (dpa) – Germany is taking up leadership of the leading association of international supporters for the Sahel region of Africa. Development Minister Svenja Schulze travelled to the annual general meeting of the Sahel Alliance for the occasion which took place in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. “I am taking on the presidency of the Sahel Alliance to show that Germany and its partners are here for and committed to the region,” Schulze said. “My priorities for the Sahel Alliance are jobs, agriculture and social security in the region. I also want to prevent the creation of stateless areas.”
The Sahel Alliance has 18 members and was set up in 2017 by Germany, France and the EU to support the G5 association of states in the Sahel region (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) which are at risk of poverty and terrorism. So far the alliance has spent over €28 billion in the region. With donations amounting to €2.73 billion across 181 projects, Germany is the fourth-largest provider of funding for the alliance, behind the World Bank, France and the EU. The Sahel zone lies south of the Sahara and stretches from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.
The key priorities for the German presidency include projects to promote education and employment, expanding social security and supporting municipal expansion of water supplies, hospitals, schools and markets. “The public can see who is serious about looking after them, and who isn’t. After all, terror groups don’t lay water pipelines,” Schulze said.