Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany

01/24/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2023 05:12

3. International Lake Chad Conference in Niamey



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3. International Lake Chad Conference in Niamey

Family photo at the high-level gonference on the lake chad region, © AA

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24.01.2023 - Article

The International Lake Chad Conference is taking place in the crisis-stricken region for the first time. Germany is co-hosting the conference.

The region around Lake Chad lies between the Sahel and Central Africa and is dominated by concurrent crises: terrorism, conflicts, weak state structures and the impact of the climate crisis. This has dramatic consequences for the some 35 million people who live there. Almost one in ten inhabitants have been displaced, and 11 million people - roughly the entire population of Baden-Württemberg- are reliant on humanitarian assistance. The region is particularly hard hit by food insecurity, a situation that has been exacerbated in recent months particularly as a result of Russia's war of aggression.

Representatives from Africa, Europe and international partners meet around the table

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The lake chad region© AA

The countries bordering on Lake Chad - the Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad - will gather in Niamey, capital of the Niger, on 23 and 24 January in order to discuss with key players from the fields of humanitarian assistance, stabilisation and development cooperation ways to help achieve greater stability in the region. Together with Niger, the co-hosts of the conference are Germany, Norway and the United Nations.

For in spite of numerous challenges, the special cooperation in the Lake Chad region is bearing fruit. In recent months, many fighters from the Boko Haram terrorist organisation have laid down their arms. The Regional Stabilisation Strategy developed by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the African Union at the second High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in Berlin in 2018 has resulted in close cooperation between the countries in the region and at local level. The central idea is that the countries bordering on Lake Chad jointly develop approaches for the region. They will be supported by international partners with projects combining development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and stabilisation in the so-called humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Minister of State Katja Keulwill represent the German Government at the conference. Speaking prior to her departure for Niamey, she said:

Crises in Africa need solutions from Africa. That is why it is right that this Lake Chad Conference is taking place in the region for the first time. Germany will continue to be a reliable partner for the Lake Chad region in future.

Minister of State Keulannounced that the German Government would make available a further 100 million euro for the people in the Lake Chad region. The additional funds will be used not least to help internally displaced persons to return to their homes and support the re-integration of former Boko Haram fighters. Germany's contribution will also allow humanitarian assistance for vulnerable population groups to be intensified.

German assistance in the Lake Chad region

The Federal Government has been active in the region for many years - not least as a co-organiser of the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region. The second High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region took place in Berlin in 2018.

Germany is providing targeted support to internally displaced persons, refugees and host communities in hard-to-reach areas. Assistance organisations have made available emergency food aid and mobile clinics in order to provide traumatised people also with psychological support. Project activities in this area focus particularly on the needs of older people, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, children under the age of five and people with disabilities.

A second priority in the Lake Chad region alongside humanitarian assistance is stabilisation. Germany is chiefly involved in rebuilding destroyed villages such as in Baroua, so that inhabitants forced to flee by Boko Haram can return home. The Federal Government also supports the rehabilitation of former Boko Haram fighters, thereby fostering reconciliation in the region. [Link to article on the concept for integrated peace engagement + FFO article on Nigeria trip.