African youth have in recent times, initiated campaigns against external influence in the Sahel. In Burkina Faso for instance, the youth are protesting against the role of France in the region. According to them, insecurity has worsened despite the presence of French troops, breeding a general loss of trust in foreign intervention.
Political will on this campaign was however dealt a blow as Senegalese government called on China to get involved in the Sahel, adding to the already existing European presence. Aissata Tall Sall, the Minister for Foreign affairs made this position known during the China-Africa summit held in the capital – Dakar.
“We would like China’s influence to be a strong voice in support of Senegal and all the countries involved in the problem of insecurity in the Sahel, so that our forces there have even more legal means to fight against terrorists and irredentism, and we hope that China will accompany us,” the minister said.
This has been of concern to political thinkers. Already, France has about 5,100 troops in the sahel but the activities of Jihadists keep increasing; critics have proposed an all-African approach in dealing with extremism in the region, saying foreign troops will “only be engaging in unnecessary competition” in the region.
Recall that, when Mali for instance announced their proposed deal with Russia’s wagner to deploy about 1,000 soldiers to boost security in the Sahel, France condemned the move with the French defense minister, Florence Parly saying “We will not be able to cohabit with mercenaries.”
The summit which is being held in Dakar also focused on areas including financial relationship with China. The Senegalese foreign Minister said measures are being implemented to ensure that, debts are managed with respect to the attached terms to prevent violations.
“We maintain this financial cooperation with transparency and responsibility so as not to worsen our level of indebtedness. We therefore take great care to ensure that our debt does not exceed the criteria and conditions that have been set, and we do so with absolute transparency, not only with respect to China, but also with respect to the Senegalese people to whom we owe an account”, Sall said