EU 'can't afford to ignore' Sahel

    Displaced women and children in northern Mali. The European Union has launched a new strategy for the Sahel in an effort to prevent conflict in Mali from reaching Europe. Photo by: Cyprien Fabre / EC / ECHO / CC BY-SA

    There’s a good reason the European Union is taking the crisis in the Sahel seriously: The problems in this African region could cross borders and hit home, Strategic Europe Editor-in-Chief Judy Dempsey writes.

    The European Union is among the largest donors to the Sahel. Just this month, the European Commission hosted a high-level gathering where a new partnership was launched to help people in the region cope with future crises.

    But the bloc is not stopping there. In August, the European Union is planning to establish a police training mission in Niger, Dempsey says in this opinion piece for The New York Times. This is to help fight terrorism and organized crime in the country. The Nigerien government is concerned that separatists and Islamic fundamentalist groups from Mali may cross to its borders, Dempsey reports.

    This strategy, including the bloc’s move to distribute food aid in southern Mali, is just one of several actions the European Union is taking to prevent the threat of terrorism from reaching Europe.

    The reasoning behind EU’s move may raise a few eyebrows. But, as analysts Dempsey quotes said, at least Sahel’s issues are “finally getting some attention.”

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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