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In Bamako, the scenario of recent months – a series of rifts between the ruling junta and its foreign partners – is repeating itself once again. After the ten-year military presence in Mali ended in August with the withdrawal of the last soldier from the anti-terrorist operation “Barkhane”, France decided this time to suspend its Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The decision made “Two or three weeks ago” was not the subject of an official communication from Paris, according to a French diplomatic source. But it is denounced in a letter to Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday November 15 by Coordination Sud, a collective of French NGOs dedicated to international solidarity. This letter, signed by 35 French organizations operating in Mali and their The world received a copy, claims the President of ” Goodbye [sa] Job “.
The suspension of official development assistance granted by Paris “will lead to the cessation of essential and even vital activities […] for the benefit of the population living in extreme poverty”, it is written. Currently 35% of Malians or 7.5 million people need help. According to Coordination Sud, the cessation of French ODA puts nearly 70 development projects underway or planned in the country in the coming years in jeopardy.
“Who’s going to slam the door next? »
France had already begun to turn off the relief valves in February, just as nearly a thousand mercenaries from the private Russian security group Wagner had landed on Malian territory: 60 million euros of the 100 million ODA that France allocates on average each year has been cancelled. Now almost everything has jumped: only purely humanitarian aid (approx. 8 million euros per year) is maintained.
This suspension is linked to Mali’s increasing isolation, maintained by the military in power: since their double coup d’état of 2020 and 2021, they have continued to press their traditional allies to leave, as testified, from January 2022, the expulsion of the French ambassador .
In early November, the Czech Republic’s decision to close its embassy in Bamako “the deterioration of the situation in Mali and the remoteness of this country from Europe” sowed doubts in the western law firms present in the capital about the future of their cooperation with Mali. “We keep asking ourselves who’s going to slam the door next,” slips a diplomat.
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