The Sahel Alliance
The Sahel region is full of potentials which makes this area a land of opportunity: human capital, natural resources, renewable energy potential… Unfortunately, several factors hinder its development: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger face many challenges, including chronic insecurity, a lack of economic prospects, and poor access to education, employment and essential services such as water and electricity. Climate change is weakening the region even more. An appropriate reaction, one that would be rapidly effective in the field, was necessary to deal with this instable and fragile situation; a response taking security challenges into account, a response capable of ensuring the region’s lasting and sustainable development.
Development partners and large international organizations provided the response to this double-edged challenge of security and development. In July 2017, several development partners launched the Sahel Alliance, an international cooperation platform to provide more and better support for development initiatives in the Sahel. Since its launch, the African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, United Nations, the United States, and the West African Development Bank have joined the initiative as full members.
Nine countries or organisations have joined the Sahel Alliance as observer members: Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, the International Finance Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Ireland and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. They participate in decision-making meetings of the Sahel Alliance as well as in the work and activities of sectoral and thematic groups, including in the field in the G5 countries. However, they do not integrate their development projects into the portfolio designated and monitored by the Alliance.
In order to provide an appropriate response to the challenges facing the Sahelian countries, the Sahel Alliance members decided to guide their work according to four key principles: targeting its fields of action; accountability between partners with regard to shared goals; new, innovative and more flexible modes of action; and a specific commitment to vulnerable and fragile zones.
The first principle is that projects are targeted in five priority fields: “education and youth employment”, “agriculture, rural development, food security”, “energy and climate”, “governance”, “decentralization and basic services”. Another cornerstone: the relationships between partners and Sahel States are founded on an approach of mutual accountability, meaning that the goals to be achieved are defined, measured and shared by all partners. Next, to accelerate both their implementation and their effectiveness, the projects will adopt new modes of action, through innovative and more flexible financing methods and a diversification of the stakeholders implementing them (NGOs, local authorities, and the private sector). And, finally, the most vulnerable and fragile zones will be subject to particular attention.
These principles aim to increase the coordination between partners and accelerate the implementation of assistance and projects, while addressing the needs expressed by the beneficiary countries. The Sahel Alliance intends to help the Sahelian countries restore the foundations of stable societies to create a sustainable development and peace in the Sahel.
In 2022, the Sahel Alliance is supporting more than 1,300 projects for a total amount of €28.77 billion.
Fields of action
In order to provide an effective and structured response to the challenges face by the Sahel countries, the members of the Sahel Alliance have chosen to concentrate their efforts on five priority sectors, which correspond with the development priorities established by the Sahel countries. The projects of the Sahel Alliance are focused on one or more of these priorities and aim to have a rapid impact on the populations.