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close this bookThe Courier N° 122 July - August 1990 - Dossier Tourism - Country Report: Mali (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)
close this folderCountry report
close this folderMali: (R)evolution in the rural world
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentInterview with Président Moussa Traoré
View the documentInterview with Dr. N’Golo Traoré, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
View the documentNomads who refuse to die out
View the documentEEC - Mali cooperation
View the documentCreating an entrepreneurial class
View the documentProfile

EEC - Mali cooperation

Mali’s relations with the Community are especially important because the country very much depends on the outside world for both supplies and development financing. And the Community is its biggest trading partner, accounting for more than half its exports.

Since the advent of Lomolicy with the 4th EDF, resources have been increased and adapted to the needs of the moment and there has been non - programme aid on top of them to help cope with the harmful effects of unforeseeable situations caused by drought, export price slumps, epidemics and so on.

A total of Ecu 97.7 million was provided under Lom - Ecu 79.9 m of it for EDF - EIB projects and programmes, Ecu 9.8 m in Stabex payments (for groundnuts, cotton and gum arabic), Ecu I m in exceptional aid and Ecu 7 m from the Natali Plan. The total for LomI was Ecu 124.6 m, with Ecu 99.4 m of it going to EDF - EIB projects and programmes, Ecu 10.6 m in Stabex payments (for groundnut oil and other groundnut products and karit Ecu 13.3 m in exceptional aid and Ecu 1.3 m from the Natali Plan. The various figures for LomII, totalling Ecu 178.6 m, were Ecu 157.5 m (EDF - EIB projects and programmes), Ecu 20.3 m (Stabex, for cotton), Ecu 0.8 m (exceptional aid) and Ecu 15 m (Debt Programme).

And then there has been aid outside the framework of the Convention, such things as food aid (worth Ecu 41.2 m over the 1979 - 89 period) and cofinancing with NGOs (Ecu 3.8 m).

Regional cooperation allocations have also been stepped up over the successive Conventions and, by LomII, the sum of Ecu 185 m was available for West Africa under this heading. Mali is involved in a number of regional schemes aimed at improving the forecasting of agricultural conditions (there is a permanent Diagnosis project, for example) and preserving the region’s natural resources.

But despite the considerable increase in resources, the rate of disbursement has not always kept up with the rate of commitment, delays being caused both by the cumbersome procedure of all parties concerned and the complexity of recent programmes (Food Strategy Support, Food Security in the 5th region etc).

The Commission has announced an initial allocation of Ecu 155 m for the indicative programme under LomV (this includes Ecu 19 m from EIB - managed resources) and there will no doubt be further Commission resources over and above this, particularly from Stabex and the structural adjustment support facility. And there is the regional aid quota and extra - Convention aid, too.

Cooperation under LomII

(ECU million)

Indicative programme (revised)

· Food strategy support programme


· Support for grass - roots schemes (micro - projects)


· Food security programme


· Programme to intensify rice crops on large irrigated plots


· Studies, technical assistance and miscellaneous


· Company creation support


· Special import programme


· Risk capital


· not committed


Sub - total


Outside indicative programme

· Emergency aid


· Stabex


· Risk capital (EIB)


Sub - total




Adapting to circumstances

The relative weight of the different sectors of Community assistance has changed and new types of aid have appeared as one Convention has followed another. The 4th EDF, for example, put the emphasis on infrastructure (with the SnguDiama and Manantali dams and the Sienso - Srnd Bla - San roads) and the rural sector (Su Rice Scheme, the development of fisheries, food crops, etc) and paid some attention to the social sector, too (improvements to health facilities in Bamako and the Nioro region and the building of health posts and dispensaries). The 5th EDF continued along these lines with further financing for the Sngund Manantali dams, roads, phase II of the Su Rice Scheme, health infrastructure at Bamako and so on, although there were new projects too the village water engineering operation in the 1st, 2nd and 5th regions, livestock development in the north east, geological and mineral prospection, micro - projects and assistance for the Ministry of Planning to facilitate the programming of Commission schemes in Mali.

With the 6th EDF, some original features have appeared, multi - sectoral programmes (including a special import programme) now being included and Commission schemes being focused on the 4th and 5th regions. The programmes should enhance the effect of EEC cooperation in that focal area. Two more programmes, on food security and agricultural production, plus a programme of micro - projects, are also being run and there is a special import programme of Ecu 25 m to cushion various economic and financial imbalances by financing imports of two products which are vital to the Malian economy - sugar (20 000 tonnes) and hydrocarbons (60 000 tonnes). These products will be sold on the local market and the money used for a counterpart fund to finance job creation, development schemes and structural adjustment support.

None of this of course means that the Community is neglecting either its schemes in other parts of the country or its regional operations. The 6th EDF has also seen financing for trade events, the purchase and distribution of vital medicines in the 6th and 7th regions, the financing of an HT line between Bamako and Su and support for the CMDT with EIB capital (Ecu 20.5 m) and there have been two original high - impact schemes in addition, one to provide support for the reorganisation of the cereal market (PRMC) and the other to set up small businesses.

Original, high - impact schemes

We shall take the older of these, the cereal market reorganisation operation, first. Since 1981 - 82, the Malian Government has been running a new policy with its Cereal Market Reorganisation Programme (PRMC) and backing from nine countries and bodies providing food aid (i.e. seven bilaterals Belgium, Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA and two international organisations the EEC and the WFP).

Reorganisation of the cereal market

The new policy, which includes the liberalisation of cereal prices and the cereal trade, marks state withdrawal by changing the Cereal Board, which had a monopoly, into a competitive body whose job is now confined to looking after food security. The informal private sector is being converted into a socio - professional sector which can take over most of the work hitherto carried out by the public sector.

The first phase of implementation of the policy (1981 - 82 1985 - 86) was at a time of considerable shortages, so the approach had to be in terms of cereal availability - i.e. local production plus external aid donations and commercial imports.

During these years of penury, the Government stuck to its major political commitment to liberalisation and refrained from bringing back the old economic controls. And the authorities organised direct exchanges on the primary circuit between groups of producers and consumer cooperatives and producers and breeders, too, and encouraged the private sector to transport goods from the production sites to the urban centres and places with shortfalls. At the same time, OPAM (Mali’s Agricultural Produce Board) set up a buffer stock and this was sold mainly through the consumer cooperatives in accordance with a national food plan produced annually with a view to sharing the programme resources fairly.

These measures did not solve all the problems, but they considerably relieved what had looked like very dangerous tension. From 1985 - 86 onwards, with the long - awaited return to “ normal “ harvests, food security (in which the country’s consumer requirements are covered by the tonnage it harvests) was able to be tackled. The problem was to contain the real supply with the actual demand too low, and this was achieved by encouraging the peasants to store, the village organisations to purchase and store and the private sector to store. The private sector kept its buying strictly to National Buffer Stock (SNS) requirements. New ways of financing had to be found to go from cereal shortage to cereal balance - and without too much help from the state either, in view of the resources which could be mobilised.

The Community, which has made a massive contribution to the PRMC (45000 tonnes of cereal supplied in money equivalent since 1986), is also financing a technical assistant in the Ministry of Finance to act as a link between the Malian authorities and the group of donors.

The other distinctive aspect of the Community’s work in Mali has to do with setting up firms and settling young graduates in employment. Thanks to four offices in Bamako, Su, Sikasso and Mopti (a fifth is to be opened in Kayes soon), almost 300 small firms have been financed by the project and almost 1100 jobs made available. Almost every area of the economy (agri - food, distribution, art and craft, health etc) has received financing through the informal sector which has always found it very difficult to get bank credit hitherto (see article on page 32). the encouraging results of the first two - year phase, which is just coming to an end, mean that a second phase can be envisaged with optimism.

Regional cooperation schemes

Any review of the Community’s fields of cooperation in Mali would be incomplete without mention of the regional schemes. Priority schemes here include:

- using photo-voltaic energy to pump surface and underground water and run community equipment (medical retrigeration facilities, lighting, TV and batteries);

- promoting butane gas as a substitute for energy derived from wood;

- providing primary school teachers and pupils with training in and information on the protection of the environment.

These will supplement schemes already being run as part of DIAPER, the regional food security permanent diagnosis operation. They are aimed at building up a better knowledge of the rural world to make for more efficient forecasting and they are backed by a European Community Statistical Office unit, which has been operating in Mali since 1985. In addition to its work with DIAPER, this unit has also helped the Early Warning System responsible for detecting areas threatened with food imbalances and targeting populations suffering from chronic or periodical food shortages.