A two-day African security forum opened in Dakar on Monday amid concerns about funding for a much-trumpeted initiative to bind five Sahel countries into an anti-terror force.
The forum was opened on Monday by Senegalese President Macky Sall. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Drian is expected for the final day on Tuesday.
Sall, whose country is one of the most politically stable in Africa, said that “strong and resilient states” were the key to lasting security.
Bringing together Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, the G5 Sahel force aims to become a 5,000-man joint force to restore authority in areas grappling with terrorists and brutal gangs.
Since late last year, the G5 Sahel has carried out only six operations, with three more in the works.
It also has yet to win over civilians who fear retribution from the rebels if they provide support.