Regional cooperation The BMZ’s Sahel Plus Initiative

The situation in the Sahel region has a great influence on stability in the northern and central parts of Africa, and in the Gulf of Guinea. This also has indirect implications for European security. According to the United Nations, the region is now considered to be the “epicentre of violent Islamist extremism”. Weak state structures and the dramatic impacts of climate change are exacerbating existing conflicts over resources such as water, land and food in the region.

The cross-border activities of extremist and criminal groups are also putting increasing pressure on the countries adjacent to the Sahel, such as Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Millions of people in the region have been displaced.

The German government is therefore redirecting its Sahel policy and concentrating in particular on civilian stabilisation measures, tackling the root causes of crises and providing needs-oriented humanitarian assistance.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Many people in the Sahel region end up joining terrorist groups not out of conviction but because they need an income. This is where development policy can be helpful for uprooting terrorism.
Svenja Schulze Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

The development policy component of the German government’s new Sahel policy is the BMZ’s Sahel Plus Initiative. With this initiative the Development Ministry is taking the entire region into consideration, which means the Sahel countries plus the West African coastal countries Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

The BMZ will concentrate in the Sahel on creating jobs and training places for the region’s young population – in areas like processing agricultural goods, skilled trades in the construction industry or the expansion of infrastructure. The aim is to create alternatives to keep young people from being recruited by extremist groups. In addition, social protection systems will support the weakest members of the population so that they are better able to cope with crises like climate change.

In order to increase the impact of its activities, the German government is relying on strong alliances with local partners and with multilateral organisations.

Germany is also not shying away from taking on political responsibilities. On 10 July 2023, Minister Svenja Schulze took over the Presidency of the Sahel Alliance. She wants to focus her presidency on changes that will make sustainable and tangible improvements in the situation of the people in the Sahel.The Sahel Alliance coordinates the support given to the region by 18 countries and organisations.

Family photo of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance in Mauritania in July 2023

Sahel region Statement by the Sahel Alliance regarding the military coup in Niger Internal link

15 August 2023 |

Statement made on behalf of the Sahel Alliance by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Svenja Schulze, in her capacity as President of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance.

Meeting of the Sahel Alliance representatives in Nouakchott, Mauritania

Nouakchott/Mauritania Development Minister Svenja Schulze takes over Presidency of the Sahel Alliance Internal link

10 July 2023 |

Today, Development Minister Svenja Schulze took over the Presidency of the Sahel Alliance. The Alliance coordinates international support in the five Sahel countries: Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. The total support for all the initiatives and investments funded by the members of the Sahel Alliance is about 28 billion euros. This means that the Sahel Alliance is the region’s biggest alliance of international supporters.

The "World Bank Group" inscription on the main building of the World Bank in Washington

Talks in Washington and New York Development Minister Schulze working to advance World Bank reform and Sahel cooperation Internal link

15 May 2023 |

Today, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze will be travelling to Washington in order to help increase the momentum of the ongoing reform of the World Bank, which is geared towards turning it into a climate and transformation bank.

Worker repairing locomotives of an iron ore company in Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Strong alliances with local partners The Federal Government realigns its Sahel policy Internal link

3 May 2023 |

The Federal Government is realigning its Sahel policy. The Cabinet today approved a final extension of the mandate for the Bundeswehr contingent serving with MINUSMA. In parallel, the Federal Government will step up civilian support for the region and shift the focus of its security-sector engagement towards the Niger, Mauritania and the countries around the Gulf of Guinea.

Defence Minister Pistorius and Development Minister Schulze arriving in Niger

Visit to Africa Defence Minister Pistorius and Development Minister Schulze will make a joint visit to Niger and Mali Internal link

12 April 2023 |

Today Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and Development Minister Svenja Schulze set off on a joint visit to the Sahel countries of Niger and Mali. Both government members made it clear that Germany will still continue to meet its responsibilities towards the Sahel region after the planned withdrawal of Bundeswehr troops from Mali.

As at: 08/09/2023