G5 Sahel Joint Force and Alliance for the Sahel

The G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) are facing an increase in terrorist threats and organized crime, which are destabilizing the region. The aim of the G5 Sahel and the Alliance for the Sahel is to address these common challenges with a political, military and development response.

G5 Sahel: an African political decision

On 2 July 2017, in Bamako, the presidents of the five countries exposed to the threat of terrorism, in the presence of the President of the French Republic, decided to create a joint military force, the G5 Sahel, endorsed by the African Union and recognised by the UN Security Council in resolution 2359, sponsored by France. The Secretary-General of the United Nations supports the G5 Sahel and issued a report on 16 October, outlining its activities.

The mandate of the G5 Sahel is to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime and human trafficking in the G5 Sahel area.

This transnational force will comprise nearly 5,000 troops (seven battalions spread over three zones (West, Centre and East) and will cover a strip of 50 km on each side of the countries’ borders. Subsequently, it is expected that a Sahelian counter-terrorism brigade will be deployed in northern Mali. The current Chairman of the G5 Sahel (represented by Mali until the end of the year) ensures the control of the G5 Sahel Joint Force at the political level, while the Standing Committee on Defence ensures its strategic control. A central command post (CP) in Sévaré, Mali, was inaugurated on 9 September by President Keïta. Three other command posts are planned, one for each zone. The command post in the central zone (the three-border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger), in Niamey, is currently being equipped and was visited by Jean-Yves Le Drian in October. The force is expected to be operational by autumn 2017. By the end of October 2017, three battalions had already been deployed.

The G5 Sahel Force is designed to be flexible so that it can adapt to the changing threat environment, as well as to intervention priorities. It does not replace but rather supplements the operations of the MINUSMA, whose mandate is to support the Malian authorities in the stabilization of the country. The aim is to achieve an optimal balance between this peacekeeping organization and the G5 Sahel Force.

Funding for the G5 Sahel Force is currently being consolidated. The European Union has pledged €50 million under the African Peace Facility. The five Sahel states will contribute €10 million each. The French effort amounts to €8 million in the form of logistical support. Additional bilateral contributions are expected.

The G5 Sahel is a priority of the French Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (October 2017). A specific meeting on this subject will be chaired by Jean-Yves Le Drian on 30 October. France is seeking to strengthen international support for this exemplary initiative because it reflects the willingness of African nations to assume responsibility for their own security.

Alliance for the Sahel, the second component of the G5 Sahel initiative

The efforts being made to increase the security of the region will be ineffective if they are not accompanied by a sustainable development effort: this is the goal of the Alliance for the Sahel, the second and equally important component of the G5 Sahel initiative.

To stabilize the region, it is essential to prevent the radicalization of young people and create the conditions for economic development, which will generate employment. This requires greater efforts to boost development in the region.The aim of the Alliance for the Sahel, launched by the President of the French Republic at the G5 Sahel Summit, is thus to improve the effectiveness of development assistance through the creation of an unprecedented alliance. This structure will not substitute other arrangements or act as a tool for additional resources, rather it will be a mechanism for coordination and innovation using the method adopted by the donors. Five key sectors are targeted: youth employability – education and training –; agriculture, rural development and food security; energy and climate; governance; decentralization and support for the deployment of basic services.

The Alliance for the Sahel is currently being set up and is open to all partners willing to actively participate and respect its charter (method, including reciprocal delegations), around its founding members (France, Germany, EU, World Bank, African Development Bank, UNDP).

France has planned to allocate an additional €200 million to the Sahel countries over a six-year period within this framework.

Preparatory work is underway for the launch of the Alliance for the Sahel. A first ministerial meeting was held on 14 October alongside the World Bank/IMF meetings. A second ministerial meeting will take place during the African Union - European Union (AU-EU) summit on 30 November. The Alliance for the Sahel will also be on the agenda of the Sahel event in Brussels on 14 December (G5 Joint Force donor conference and development meeting)

Updated: 27.10.17