For two days, participants are expected to earmark concrete strategies aimed at combating jihadists in the region.
A G5 Sahel Summit is ongoing in the Chadian capital N'Djamena. The Summit began on Monday, February 15, 2021 with five Presidents from countries of the Sahel Region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), physically present. French President Emmanuel Macron who is the guest of honor is participating at the summit via videoconference. The French leader who was also expected to be physically present officially canceled his trip due to the prevailing sanitation situation.
The summit which comes on the heels of several consultations at the highest level, is in two stages: The first stage yesterday witnessed the actual opening of the G5 Summit with a closed session in which the French President, Emmanuel Macron participated by video conference. For the second stage today, it will be the turn of the Coalition for the Sahel, launched at the 2020 Pau Summit to take on greater importance in 2021 for mobilization and coordination with international partners. For the first time, the Sahel Coalition will have a high representative chosen by the G5 Sahel member states to promote the Coalition abroad.
According to RFI, the N'Djamena meeting is aimed at amplifying the momentum of the Pau Summit. Thirteen months ago, while meeting in the City of Pau (South-West of France), countries of the Sahel Region and France decided on a military plan to concentrate their efforts in the area known as the "three borders" (Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali), to target one enemy in particular, the Islamic State Organization. More than a year later, the Élysée is pleased with the results obtained and speaks of "a clear reversal of the balance of power" in the area. The goal is therefore to continue the effort, thanks to the "imminent" arrival of a re-enforcement Chadian battalion.
However, whatever military strategies France and the G5 countries will put in place at the end of the Summit, the causes of the crisis remain complex, with analysts long warning that if factors such as underdevelopment, the effects of climate change, tensions between farming and animal-herding are not addressed, little success will be registered in the fight against terrorism.