Thursday, October 26, 2023
Norway has announced an increase in its aid to Sahel countries, where humanitarian needs are far from being met against the backdrop of coups d’état in several countries in the region.
Oslo will provide an additional 40 million kroner (3.4 million euros) in humanitarian aid to Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. This will be in addition to the 248 million kroner already released this year for these countries, and will be channeled through the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“While the eyes of the planet are focused on Gaza and the war between Israel and Hamas, acute and enduring crises are taking place around the world,” said Norway’s Minister for Development Aid, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, in an email to AFP.
“There is a significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation and, at the same time, a big hole in funding,” she added, pointing to the fact that only 40% of humanitarian needs benefiting the region were being funded.
The Sahel, the Norwegian government points out, is plagued by “persistent and increasing violence and insecurity, climate shock and political instability”.
Three countries in the region – Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger – have seen their militaries seize power by force in recent years.
In Mali, after ousting the French troops present in the country to fight jihadist groups, the colonels in place since 2020 called in June for the departure of the UN mission (Minusma) deployed since 2013.
This withdrawal, which has begun and will continue until December 31, has exacerbated rivalries for control of the territory between armed actors present in the north.
“The UN estimates that 37 million people are in need of humanitarian aid and protection in Burkina Faso, northern Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger and northeastern Nigeria,” noted Ms. Tvinnereim.
“In Mali alone, almost 8.8 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. That’s an increase of 175% since 2019,” she added.
At the end of August, Norway announced the closure of its embassy in Bamako, which represented the country not only in Mali but also in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad.
But it had also indicated that it would maintain its aid to countries in the region.
In Humaniterre – Media de l’humanitaire et du développement durable with AFP
Illustrative photos and text – AFP