Farmers on their way to their fields

Mali A landlocked West African country in crisis

The political situation in Mali remains fragile. In 2012, an uprising of separatist Tuareg and rebel groups in northern Mali plunged the country into a severe crisis. Several UN missions have since been striving to stabilise the country, restore the authority of the state, protect civilians and contribute to peace and reconciliation by supporting the 2015 Algiers peace agreement.

Defence Minister Pistorius and Development Minister Schulze arriving in Niger

After two military coups (in August 2020 and May 2021) and since the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions in late 2021, the country has been in a period of political transition under interim president Assimi Goïta.

Together with other international partners and organisations, for example France, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States, the German government has been calling on Mali to restore constitutional order as quickly as possible.

After prolonged disputes with the Economic Community of West African States, in June 2022 the transitional government set out a roadmap for a two-year transitional period, which includes several rounds of elections and a constitutional referendum. The Economic Community of West African States and many western donors have accepted this decision so that numerous cooperation programmes that had been suspended were resumed in summer 2022.

As part of the transition process that was agreed, on 18 June 2023, the announced referendum on the constitution took place. The transition process as a whole was to be concluded with presidential elections in February 2024. The elections were postponed indefinitely by the military government in the autumn of 2023.

The German military was part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for around ten years. When on 16 June 2023 the transitional government in Mali requested the immediate withdrawal of MINUSMA, the United Nations Security Council decided on 30 June 2023 by resolution 2690 to terminate the MINUSMA mandate with immediate effect and, acting in close consultation with the transitional government in Mali, to complete an orderly withdrawal by 31 December 2023. The last German soldiers left Mali in December 2023.


Fragile security situation

The security situation in Mali is continuing to worsen. A nationwide state of emergency is still in place. Terrorist attacks are liable to happen anywhere in the country. In the northern and central parts of the country in particular, violent conflict has flared up repeatedly. Moreover, various, conflicting terrorist groups are active in the north-eastern and central parts of Mali and in regions along the borders with Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.

The German government expects the situation in the larger Gao region to worsen even further once not only the Bundeswehr but all MINUSMA troops have withdrawn.

German development cooperation with Mali

Employees of the aid organization CARE International from Mali and Niger are working on a project proposal to combat the causes of flight in the region of Mali North and Niger North.

Employees of the aid organization CARE International from Mali and Niger are working on a project proposal to combat the causes of flight in the region of Mali North and Niger North.

Employees of the aid organization CARE International from Mali and Niger are working on a project proposal to combat the causes of flight in the region of Mali North and Niger North.

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Germany's development cooperation with Mali focuses on the local level and on projects that lead to direct and sustained improvements in people's living conditions.

Germany's activities in Mali currently concentrate on food security and agriculture, drinking water supply, and the establishment of effective local government institutions.

Since the two coups, Germany has been operating its development cooperation programmes without involving the government and in close contact with the target groups - ongoing programmes are not carried out in cooperation with the transitional government working instead with subordinate civil authorities, private companies, local communities and local partners. The BMZ continuously adapts project implementation to the changing security situation.

The last government negotiations with Mali took place in March 2021, that is, before the second coup. At the time, Germany committed 69 million euros for development cooperation for two years. New commitments for safeguarding existing projects working for and with the population will still be made in 2023 – on a much smaller scale because of the political situation.

In order to be able to provide continued support to the people of Mali and work to prevent any further destabilisation of the country, the BMZ is striving to continue its longstanding cooperation with the country. This will depend to a large degree on the successful adoption of the roadmap for the transition and a return to constitutional order, and the BMZ will coordinate its decision with the other German ministries and with European and international partners.

Social situation
Settlement in Bamako, Mali

Living conditions are very hard Internal link

Mali's population is characterised by vast ethnic and cultural diversity – and a large proportion of the people are living in extreme poverty.

Economic situation
Tailor with his sewing machine on a street in Bamako, Mali

Most of the population works in agriculture Internal link

The two mainstays of Mali's economy are agriculture and mining. This means that the country is heavily dependent on world market prices for its two most important export goods, cotton and gold.

As at: 25/07/2023