GIZ now managing the Sahel Alliance secretariat

On 16 May 2019, Martin Jäger, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), officially opened the Sahel Alliance’s new secretariat office in Brussels at an event attended by representatives from the five African partner countries, BMZ, the European Union (EU) and other Sahel Alliance donors. The Sahel Alliance was launched during the 2017 Franco-German Council of Ministers by France, Germany, the EU, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. The Alliance’s objective is to provide more effective support to the G5 countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania – in the areas of youth employment, climate and energy, governance, decentralisation and basic services, food security and agriculture, and security. The secretariat assists the Sahel Alliance donors – now 12 in number – in improving the coordination and effectiveness of their development work in the region. Based in Brussels, it is now managed by GIZ on behalf of BMZ, co-funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). For the first one-and-a half years, the secretariat was under the management of the Agence Française de Développement.

Sahel: Great political significance for Europe

As manager of the secretariat and chair of the steering committee, Germany will now have a leading role in the Sahel Alliance as it takes over from France for one year. Speaking in Brussels, State Secretary Jäger emphasised that development in the Sahel region has great political significance for Europe. Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, DG DEVCO, and His Excellency Nicolas Suran, French Ambassador to the EU, also spoke at the event. Her Excellency Jacqueline Marie Zaba Nikiema, Ambassador of Burkina Faso in Brussels, concluded the speeches with a reminder that the G5 was originally founded in 2014 as a development initiative but since 2017 has increasingly been overshadowed by security issues. It was all the more important, she said, to strengthen development efforts in the region that will benefit its people – as the Sahel Alliance itself aims to do in partnership with the countries. Mauritania, Mali and Chad were also represented at the event by His Excellency Abdellahi Bah Nagi Kebd, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Brussels, His Excellency Sékou dit Gaoussou Cisse, Ambassador of the Republic of Mali in Brussels, and two senior representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Chad in Brussels.

State Secretary Martin Jäger declares new Sahel Alliance office in Brussels open - Copyright: GIZ