Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation ends her visit to Burkina Faso and Mali
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, has visited Mali and Burkina Faso from 22 to 24 October in her capacity as President of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance. This trip is framed within her tour of the Sahel countries scheduled for the minister during the Rotating Presidency of this organisation, which falls on Spain this year. In fact, this is her second trip as President of the Sahel Alliance, following her visit to Niger and Chad from 7 to 10 October.

The aim of her visit to Burkina Faso was to convey the support of the Sahel Alliance for this country faced with the situation of a constant terrorist threat. The minister was received by the President of the Republic, Roch Marc Cristian Kaboré, and by the Prime Minister, Christophe Joseph Marie Dabiré. 

During her stay in Ouagadougou, Minister González Laya held a meeting with her counterpart from Burkina Faso, Alpha Barry, and with other members of the government, who asked the minister to send a lecturer in Spanish to the University of Ouagadougou next year. During her meetings, she reiterated the commitment to the Alliance, particularly Spain’s commitment to security and stability in Burkina Faso, and to enhance the economic and social development of the country.

Cooperation with the G5 Sahel countries, the main aim of the Sahel Alliance, led the minister to visit the Zagtouli cooperation project for the production of solar energy with photovoltaic panels. She also held a working meeting with women leaders on questions of gender and reproductive health.

The visit by Minister González Laya to Mali served to highlight Spain’s support for the efforts towards the democratic consolidation of the new Transitional Government, and towards the stability and security of the country. Spain is the leading contributor in terms of the number of servicemen on the European Union EUTM Mali training mission and the Guardia Civil head up the GAR-SI Sahel project to train the Gendarmerie in the Sahel countries.

During her stay in Bamako, the minister was received by the Transitional President of the Republic of Mali, Bah N’Daw, and by the Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane. She also met with her counterpart, Zeini Moulaye, and with other members of the Transitional Government.

Spain received a request for support in the process that will complete the political transition in Mali through free and transparent elections within a maximum period of 18 months. The minister agreed to make the expert knowledge of Spanish Cooperation available to the government authorities on this matter.

In the same way as during her visit to Burkina Faso, the minister held a working breakfast with women leaders and visited the integrated women’s facility “One Stop Center”, which receives financing from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AECID). To bring her visit to an end, she also visited the Sahel Alliance drinking water project that supplies this utility to the city of Bamako.

Spanish Cooperation was particularly important on this part of the trip and, following an agreement with the rest of the EU countries, its aid has resumed regarding the sexual and reproductive health of women, agriculture (with a 10-million euro loan for irrigation following an agreement by the Council of Ministers) and the start of talks on a country framework agreement that is estimated will receive Spanish investment in excess of 100 million euros for the period 2022-2025 (in 2021, funding under the AECID programme will stand at around 15 million euros).

Spain has been a member of the Sahel Alliance since January 2018. The participation of Spanish Cooperation in the portfolio of the Sahel Alliance currently stands at a total of 91 projects for the sum of 124 million euros (33 projects in Mali, for the sum of 57.9 million euros; 30 projects in Mauritania, for 21.4 million euros; 27 projects in Niger, for 43.8 million euros, and one regional project, for the sum of 800,000 euros).



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