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UN Support Plan for the Sahel: Working Together for a Prosperous and Peaceful Sahel

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On the margins of the 31st Summit of the Africa Union in Nouakchott, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed will launch the United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel titled: “Sahel, Land of Opportunities.”

The launch will take place during a High-Level Meeting on the Sahel organized by the government of Mauritania

Why the Sahel Support Plan?

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 namely Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia, to scale up efforts to accelerate prosperity and sustainable peace in the region.

The support plan highlights the enormous opportunities in the Sahel and its vast assets in natural resources, energy, tourism and culture; and 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, is built around the following six priority areas:

i. Cross-border cooperation

ii. Prevention and sustaining peace

iii. Inclusive growth

iv. Climate action

v. Renewable energy

vi. Women

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).

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.

Countries in the region are encouraged to adopt, with support from international partners, the necessary measures to fully implement the support plan.

The meeting will be attended by, among other dignitaries, Mr. Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa; Mr. Maman Sidikou, the Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel; Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for the Sahel; as well as several ministers from the countries in the region.