- Nigeria, Sahel region top agenda
African heads of state have pledged to coordinate efforts to improve the continent’s security and defeat jihadist organizations, particularly in Nigeria and the Sahel region, during talks yesterday at the 31st African Union summit held in Mauritania’s capital.
The African Union summit, on Sunday and yesterday, was set up to address the issue of corruption and to discuss a mechanism to return stolen money, which is largely placed in tax havens abroad. The AU says approximately 70 percent of income from Africa’s resources are squandered or diverted.
French President Emmanueal Macron arrived in Nouakchott yesterday to discuss the battle against Islamic extremism and ways to finance counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz met Macron at the airport, and praised the French president for his “work for the development of the region and the fight against terrorism and insecurity.”
Aziz said that relations between Mauritania and France have made “significant progress in several vital areas such as defense and security, energy and health in particular.” He said Macron has supported the newly formed G5 Sahel regional force that has become an important framework for coordinating efforts to promote development and to fight against extremism, organized crime and illicit trafficking.
As at press time, Macron was to meet with the presidents of the G5 Sahel group, which includes Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso.
“This exchange will be an opportunity for me to mark my commitment to renew the link between France and the African continent, between Africa and Europe but also to rethink this link in a concrete way, as we are doing between others on issues of security, counter-terrorism and education,” said Macron.
He said that concrete decisions would be made during the meetings about the redeployment of forces and their positioning for the comings months.