The United Nations has launched a major support plan to promote lasting peace and inclusive growth in the vast Sahel region.
The agency also plans to use the drive to promote women and youth empowerment in the region that has been dogged by militancy for years.
Speaking at the launch on Saturday, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, highlighted the “immense” potential of the region – from natural resources and renewable energy to culture and tourism.
“Such significant opportunities offer a path to prosperity – provided we also address the root causes of today’s crisis,” he said, on behalf of Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.
“We are committed to working closely with all countries of the Sahel and other partners whose initiatives fit under the Strategy,” he added.
The UN support plan, entitled “Sahel, Land of Opportunities” targets 10 countries, namely Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Cameroon, with efforts to accelerate prosperity.
The plan focuses on six key areas, including cross-border cooperation; prevention and sustaining peace; inclusive growth; climate action; renewable energy; and women and youth empowerment. It will also support on-going efforts and initiatives by Governments, international and regional organizations, and other partners.