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The Sahel: Land of Opportunities

 

The overarching goal of the UN Support Plan for the Sahel is to scale up efforts to accelerate shared prosperity and lasting peace in the Sahel countries and the region at-large by implementing priorities to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the African Union Agenda 2063

The Sahel, the vast semi-arid region of Africa separating the Sahara Desert to the north and tropical savannas to the south, is as much a land of opportunities as it is of challenges. Although it has abundant human and natural resources, offering tremendous potential for rapid growth, there are deep-rooted challenges—environmental, political and security— that may affect the prosperity and peace of the Sahel.

For this reason, the United Nations has come up with a unique support plan targeting 10 countries to scale up efforts to accelerate prosperity and sustainable peace in the region.

Target countries:

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

Countries of the Sahel

 

 

 

The support plan highlights the enormous opportunities in the Sahel and its vast assets in natural resources, energy, tourism and culture.

 

It is aimed at mobilizing public resources and triggering private investments in the 10 countries in support of ongoing efforts and initiatives by governments, international and regional organizations, and other partners. It is built around the following six priority areas:

  • Cross-border cooperation
  • Prevention and sustaining peace
  • Inclusive growth
  • Climate action
  • Renewable energy
  • Women and youth empowerment

The plan will bring coherence, improve coordination and strengthen collaboration with all partners in the region.

National and regional institutions, bilateral and multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations will work towards operationalizing and implementing the Security Council resolutions on the Sahel. 

Women, youth and job creation will cut across all priority areas and interventions, aiming at strengthening governance, improving security and building resilience, as well as promoting a more integrated approach to address the humanitarian-security-development nexus as a strategy to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sahel, one of the world’s youthful region

With 64.5% of the population being below 25 years, the Sahel is one of the world’s most youthful regions. Therefore, investments in education and vocational training could yield huge demographic dividends. The Sahel is also endowed with enormous renewable energy potential; it has more solar energy production capacity than other regions of the world.

The macroeconomic conditions in the Sahel have been steadier and stronger than the continental average over the past decade.

The Sahel is endowed with great potential for renewable energy and sits atop some of the largest aquifers on the continent. Potentially one of the richest regions in the world with abundant human, cultural and natural resources.

The launch

The launch of the UN Support Plan for the Sahel will take place during a high-level-meeting on the Sahel on the margins of the 31st Summit of the Africa Union in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott.

The launch followed by the creation and deployment of the G5 Sahel Joint-Force and the United Nations Integrated Strategy (UNIS) for the Sahel could bring tangible progress. So, countries in the region are encouraged to adopt, with support from international partners, the necessary measures to fully implement the support plan.