The Sahel and Lake Chad region of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa comprises of twelve countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, along with neighbouring countries. These countries all have a considerable number of challenges that can be addressed by the EUTF, complementing other EU instruments.
In the Sahel and Lake Chad region, challenges linked to extreme poverty, lack of stability, economic fragility and low resilience remain acute. This is exacerbated by climate change in a region where more than 80% of the population relies essentially on agriculture and pastoral activities. Irregular migration and related crimes such as trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, corruption, illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime are thriving particularly where there is an insufficient presence of governmental authority and public administration. These security challenges have been increasingly linked to terrorist groups and illicit trafficking of all kinds.
The region also faces growing challenges related to demographic pressure, institutional weaknesses and governance, weak social and economic infrastructures, environmental stress and insufficient resilience to food and nutrition crises. All of these factors are root causes of forced displacement and make people flee conflict, seek protection from persecution or serious harm, or seek new economic opportunities to build a better life. As a consequence, migration pressure is mounting, with serious implication both for the countries in the region and the EU.
Given the proximity of the Sahel to the EU and its immediate neighbourhood, the EU is working closely with the countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region to support their efforts to achieve peace, security and development.