European Union Support and African Security: A Critical Assessment of the Sahel Region

1Aliyu Yahaya,  2Rahanatu Lawal &3Abdulrahman Dangana Lukman

1, 2 & 3Department of Political Science & International Studies

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Corresponding Author’s Email: rlawal@abu.edu.ng

Abstract

As peace and security form the basis of EU-Africa relations in recent years, the importance of EU support is well understood in African capitals where peace and security are mentioned as one of the partnerships under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy of 2007.Yet, with conflicts that prove hard to curtail in the Sahel region, it has come under increased pressure to focus on containing perceived threats with possible domestic repercussions such as violent extremism and jihadism. However, this study examines the EU’s support for African peace and security with emphasis given on the Sahel Region. It adopts some of the ideas of the regional security paradigm which assumes that the effects of security challenges in one country will gradually escalate to neighbouring states in a regional arrangement. The study employs the qualitative research method for proper analysis. Findings reveal that the EU is represented through its Special Representative (EUSR), four EU delegations, three CSDP missions, and a Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell (RACC). While the EU is implementing its comprehensive approach; limited exchange of information, different organisational cultures, and overlapping tasks as well as the lack of clear and shared strategic guidelines continue to hamper the EU’s engagement in the Sahel region. Apart from the EU as an entity, France’s military operation (Barkhane) has long pushed the EU and the other member states to adopt more responsibility for the Sahel region hence, the extent to which they are coordinated with each other varies. This study recommends that the EU should cooperate more with the Sahelian states and other regional actors (AU and the ECOWAS) in capacity-building strategies; emphasise the principles of Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration when a jihadist group is open to dialogue; and should encourage Security Sector Reform to build serious military capabilities in the region

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