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 approximately 35 million people who live there. Almost one in ten inhabitants have been displaced, and 11 million people – roughly the entire population of – 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 the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
Representatives from Africa, Europe and international partners meet around one table
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.
Minister of State Keul led the German delegation that attended the conference on behalf of the Federal Government. 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 Keul announced in her speech that the German Government would make available a further 100 million euro for the people in the Lake Chad region in 2023. The additional funds will be used not least to help internally displaced persons who have returned 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 with psychological support, too.
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.
This was also the focus of Foreign Minister Baerbock’s visit to north‑east Nigeria in December 2022.