The Sahel Alliance, G5 Sahel, delivered an official assessment of progress made during its first three years at a digital conference on 19 January.
The conference panel featured a number of high-level speakers, including the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, and the Mauritanian Minister for Economic Affairs and Promotion of Productive Sectors, Ousmane Mamoudou Kane.
The Alliance’s report analysed a total of 507 projects representing investments of around €10 billion, based on 22 aggregated indicators.
According to the report, projects supported by members of the Alliance are aligned with both the national development plans of the G5 countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and the frameworks established by the G5 Sahel.
During three years of operation, half a million farmers have received support, 420,000 young people have benefited from vocational training, and 550,000 people have gained access to electricity and 1.6 million to sanitation.
In addition, around 5.6 million people have been given access to drinking water, over 3 million children have been vaccinated and 1,200 civil society organizations have been supported.
“The Sahel Alliance has established itself as a key mechanism for dialogue with the G5 Sahel and its Member States,” said Minister Arancha González Laya, president of the Sahel Alliance’s General Assembly.
The Sahel Alliance currently has 24 partners (government members and multilateral development organizations, among others) and represents almost €17 billion in funding.
“We have supported almost 900 development projects, operating in areas of major insecurity as well as in regions that are creating jobs to improve people’s lives, thanks to some very concrete achievements,” said Remy Rioux, Chief Executive of the French Development Agency (AFD).
More specifically, on the G5 Sahel’s Emergency Development Programme (EDP), “the Sahel Alliance and the G5 Sahel have worked to start 18 of the 21 projects planned under the Emergency Development Programme in the priority areas of resilience, water and social cohesion,” said the Mauritanian Minister Mamoudou Kane, President of the G5 Sahel Council of Ministers.
The central question of accountability
Tertius Zongo, director of the Sahel Chair at the Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI) noted the importance of “accountability vis-à-vis beneficiary populations” and not simply in respect of donors, in order to avoid the “marginalisation of the most vulnerable individuals”.
Maman Sidikou, Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel, emphasized that “it is essential to act rather than talk, and abandon the fragmented approach of operators who prioritize recognition of their interventions over achieving tangible results.”
Closing the conference, Angel Losada, EU Special Representative for the Sahel, commented: “Our commitment is more important than ever.
Efforts to stabilise the region and national democratic processes, such as that underway in Mali, must also be accompanied by development.”
The Alliance must now consolidate its actions and provide tangible evidence of greater effectiveness on the ground given the urgency of the situation, which continues to deteriorate.
The African Development Bank has been actively involved in the Sahel Alliance since its creation. The Bank heads up the working group on agriculture, rural development and food security, and is joint, with the Netherlands, leading the climate working group.
In Chad, the report refers to the Programme to Rehabilitate and Strengthen the Resilience of Lake Chad Basin Systems (PRESIBALT), which has received funding of €6.5 million from the Bank to carry out significant structural works to improve the availability of water from the tributaries of the Chari-Logone and Komadougou-Yobé to revitalise the floodplains and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
In addition, the Bank has launched the “Desert to Power” initiative, which aims to produce 10 gigawatts of electricity to 250 million people by 2025, in 11 Sahelian countries, including the G5 Sahel.
African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, was named “champion” of the African “Great Green Wall” initiative alongside the 2021 “One Planet Summit” held on 11 January. This initiative brings together 11 Sahelian countries, including the five G5 Sahel nations.
Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbadé, the African Development Bank’s Director-General for West Africa, said the Bank would continue to be an important partner of the Alliance: “There has never been a greater need for the Sahel Alliance, at a time when we are collectively supporting the governments of the G5 Sahel to achieve rapid, inclusive, environmentally responsible socioeconomic progress, improve livelihoods, combat climate change and increase countries’ resilience.
The African Development Bank is fully committed to playing its part. Together, we will continue to strive for a prosperous, stable and resilient Sahel.”