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Strategy for Norway’s efforts in the Sahel region

On 10 September 2018, the Government launched a strategy for Norway’s efforts in the Sahel region for the period 2018-2020. The strategy sets out the main priorities for a coherent Norwegian policy in the Sahel region, a region that is facing significant challenges relating to security, humanitarian needs and development. The strategy has also been translated into French and English.

Weak state structures and porous borders have enabled Islamist terrorist groups to gain a foothold in the region. Conflicts are threatening stability in several of the region’s countries and have caused the civilian population enormous suffering. The human cost of people smuggling and irregular migration to Europe through the Sahel is huge.

The countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions are among the poorest in the world, and they are severely affected by climate change. Unless these countries receive international support, several of them will be unable to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Because of the Sahel region’s proximity to Europe, the situation in the region also affects Europe’s security and welfare, and is doing so to an increasing degree.

As part of its intensified efforts in the region, Norway opened a new embassy in the Malian capital of Bamako in January 2018. We have already established cooperation with Mali and Niger, and a considerable part of our development efforts concentrates on these two countries.

The new strategy for Norway’s efforts in the Sahel region is based a number of recent white papers, our new humanitarian strategy and the strategic framework for Norway’s engagement in conflict prevention, stabilisation and resilience building in countries and regions affected by conflict and fragility.

The name ‘Sahel’ is derived from an Arabic word meaning ‘coast’ or ‘shore’, and the Sahel region refers to a belt of land that stretches from West Africa to Sudan along the southern ‘shore’ of the Sahara Desert.

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