The European Union and France have announced 1.3bn euros ($1.5bn) of development funding aimed at combatting armed groups in African Sahel countries, which are struggling with armed groups and lawlessness.
The EU has pledged 800m euros to the effort, Neven Mimica, the bloc’s international cooperation and development commissioner told a conference in Mauritania on Thursday.
Partners and donors of the United Nations-backed counterterrorism force, known as the G5 Sahel Force, are meeting in the capital Nouakchott in an attempt to raise funds for the West African region.
France for its part “will invest 500m euros to benefit the priorities” of the G5 Sahel, added French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The initiative involves Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.
The announcement comes as the UN-backed counterterrorism force, known as the G5 Sahel force, is meeting in Mauritania.