European Commission - Press release
Commissioner Piebalgs in Mali to support development and security in the Sahel
Brussels, 22 November 2011 – The Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, is going to Mali for his first visit to the country. This visit coincides with the adoption of a European strategy for the Sahel, aimed at supporting the efforts of countries in the region in combating instability in the Sahel Belt. Commissioner Piebalgs will announce a specific €50 million aid to help Mali strengthen the presence of the state in the north of the country, guarantee basic social services and relaunch the economy. He will go on to visit Burkina Faso and Niger, affected by the same problem, on 24 and 25 November.
The Commissioner will be meeting the President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, as well as figures from the country’s cultural and business spheres and from civil society. He will welcome the progress made by Mali in combating poverty and upholding the rule of law and will call for further reforms with a view to bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth in the country. He will also sign a €12.5 million agreement to strengthen civil society.
“Mali is on the right course for sustainable development based on poverty reduction and democratic principles. Efforts still need to be made to invest in key drivers of inclusive, sustainable growth, such as agriculture and energy” Commissioner Piebalgs said, adding: “Nonetheless, the unstable situation in the Sahel is a threat to the future of development in the country and in the region as a whole. It also affects regional stability and requires a concerted response by all the countries of the region, to which the European Union has decided to provide solid support. The additional €50 million support measure aims to help Mali and the countries of the region in restoring peace and security."
The additional funds should inter alia be used to support the Programme Spécial pour la Paix, la Sécurité et le Développement du Nord Mali (PSPSDN, special programme for peace, security and development in the north of Mali) and strengthen the capacity of the justice system, the cornerstone in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
The Commissioner will also visit a school to gauge the material implementation of the budgetary support programme for Mali.
The European Union has provided €150 million in assistance for 2007-2013 in support of essential government policies, including education. A great many schools have been expanded: in less than 10 years (2003-2009) around 14 000 new classrooms have been created, leading to a 15% increase in school attendance rates for girls in several parts of the country (see MEMO).
Commissioner Piebalgs’s agenda for his official visit to Mali
23 November 2011
For more information
MEMO/11/808 Cooperation between the European Union and Mali
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG
Website of Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs