ACCRA (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday said his country and the European Union as a whole were committed to boosting security in West Africa, and could provide training and equipment to support operations against a jihadist insurgency spreading through the region.
Speaking in Ghana on the last leg of his third trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Scholz said a recent string of coups in West African nations had stalled cooperation between countries and could play into the hands of militants.
West Africa is grappling with an insurgency that took root in Mali in 2012 and has since spread across the Sahel region south of the Sahara, killing thousands and displacing over six million.
Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have also encroached south towards the Gulf of Guinea, staging attacks in the north of coastal countries such as Benin, Ghana and Togo.
Military takeovers in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Gabon since 2020 have only added instability.
Scholz stressed the importance of restoring "democratic order" and said Ghana was a "beacon of hope" for the region and a close partner for Germany.
He noted that Germany was ready to support cross-border cooperation and that an upcoming EU mission to the Gulf of Guinea could provide training and equipment.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the Sahel insurgency was now a major concern for the whole of West Africa and that all countries had to prepare for possible incursions.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Sandra Maler)