West Africa to fund anti-terrorism initiative
West African leaders meeting in Burkina Faso have announced a $1bn plan to combat rising insecurity in the Sahel region. The pledge, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at the end of this weekend's Economic Community Summit of West African States (Ecowas) in Ouagadougou, where members of the bloc were joined by Mauritania and Chad. Al Jazeera reports that the funds, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the countries involved – and those of the joint military operations in the region. Full details of the plan would be presented to the next Ecowas summit in December. Fighters with links to the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed groups have strengthened their foothold across the arid Sahel region in recent years, making large swathes of territory ungovernable.