Created in December 1970, the Authority has as its goal the promotion of the areas mineral, energy, hydraulic, and agricultural resources within a regional framework. The zone covered by the authority corresponds to the border regions of the three countries, and covers an area of 370,000 km², including 19 provinces of Burkina Faso, 4 administrative regions of Mali, and two departments and an urban community of Niger.
This zone is composed entirely of the semi-arid Sahel region. The dominant economic activity is agriculture and livestock herding, but the zone has considerable energy, hydraulic, and mining potential.
The sixth conference of the heads of state took place in Gao on April 25 and 26, 2005, with Burkina's president Blaise Compaoré acting as president of the Authority. The next conference is scheduled to take place in 2006 in Tillabery, Niger.