Mali is a large, geographically landlocked country in West Africa. It has one of the least advanced and developed economies, which remains largely informal. The economy is mainly dependent on exports such as gold and cotton; it also remains vulnerable to external economic shocks.
The recent political and security crisis has had a negative effect on the economy and the main challenge in Mali is the lack of governance. The EU is heavily involved in the peace process in Mali and is an active member in the mediation.
European Joint Programming (EJP) in Mali should be understood as a framework; a set of common objectives that the Member States and the EU institutions will utilize for their development programs in Mali over the period 2020-2024.
This EJP intends to strengthen a more coherent and effective EU and Member State assistance strategy and common positions and messages. It also aims to participate in broader objectives such as transparency, increased predictability, reducing aid fragmentation, and lowering transaction costs.
In this regard, it should be noted that compared to the previous EJP, this new European Joint Programming in Mali aims to develop a more focused, dynamic, and pragmatic approach for the required tasks and to improve political dialogue with its Malian partner.
This framework includes three priority objectives:
Improving the Functioning of the State
This area aims at decentralization for the implementation of development programs and strengthening the administration’s presence in all its forms on Malian territory. Moreover, it increases state revenue and the efficiency of public expenditure while enhancing the state’s accountability and transparency towards its citizens.
Creation of jobs promoting the green economy
This area will focus on employability and economic integration of young people of working age, the transformation of agricultural production, natural resource management, climate change, and private investment in Mali for economic growth.
Meeting essential and basic human needs
This area will enhance professional training and improve access to health, water, and sanitation. It will also help with managing the environment sustainably thus creating better conditions for the Malian population.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Mali for 2021-2024 amounts to €373 million.
Priority area 1: ‘’Improving the Functioning of the State’’ supports crisis response while continuing efforts towards stabilization and development in the North and helping to prevent landslide insecurity in the South. Furthermore, it is implementing real security reform and promotes credible and effective justice. It must become possible to bring those responsible for the terrorist attacks and abuses of recent years to justice and forward reconciliation, the rule of law, and the fight against impunity, but also to create an environment conducive to business development.
Priority area 2: ‘’ Creation of jobs promoting the green economy’’ supports respect for human rights including gender equality, the protection of workers’ fundamental rights, the fight against forced labor, and the elimination of child labor. It also advances the private sector which creates decent jobs. The Malian State must set a framework conducive to the free, responsible, and competitive development of the private sector which leads to higher levels of employment.
Priority area 3: ‘’ Meeting essential and basic human needs’’ improves access to education and the quality of the education system: This is a long-term objective, essential to the development of the country. An additional goal is to increase the State budget. The current budget (€3.5 billion) is inadequate for a vast country with a growing population. The increase in the Malian budget is the first condition, and as such should constitute a priority for European Union. Finally, it plans to make the state more effective so its ability to deliver services to citizens, throughout the territory, must imperatively be improved.