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France suspends development aid amid increasing isolation of Bamako

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In Bamako, the scenario of the last few months – a succession of ruptures between the ruling junta and its foreign partners – is repeating itself again. After having put an end, in August, to ten years of military presence in Mali with the departure of the last soldier of the anti-terrorist operation “Barkhane”, France has this time decided to suspend its official development assistance (ODA).

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Official end of the French military operation “Barkhane” in the Sahel, after almost ten years of existence

The decision, made “two or three weeks ago” according to a French diplomatic source, was not the subject of an official communication from Paris. But it is denounced in a letter sent to Emmanuel Macron, Tuesday, November 15, by Coordination Sud, a collective of French NGOs for international solidarity. This letter, signed by 35 French organizations active in Mali and whose The world obtained a copy, claim the president of ” see again [sa] position “.

The suspension of public development aid allocated by Paris “will result in the cessation of essential and even vital activities carried out […] for the benefit of populations living in extreme poverty”, is it written. Currently, 35% of Malians, or 7.5 million people, need assistance. According to Coordination Sud, the cessation of French ODA calls into question nearly 70 development projects underway or planned in the country in the coming years.

“Who will be the next to slam the door? »

In February, France had already begun to turn off the aid taps, when nearly a thousand mercenaries from the Russian private security group Wagner had just landed on Malian territory: 60 million euros, out of the 100 million ODA provided on average each year by France, had been cancelled. Now, almost everything has jumped: only purely humanitarian aid (about 8 million euros per year) is maintained.

This suspension comes in a context of growing isolation of Mali, maintained by the military in power: since their double coup d’etat of 2020 and 2021, they have continued to push their traditional allies towards the exit, as in witnessed, from January 2022, the expulsion of the French ambassador.

Read also: Mali: the United Kingdom announces the early withdrawal of its troops

In early November, the Czech Republic’s decision to close its embassy in Bamako due to “the deterioration of the situation in Mali and the remoteness of this country from Europe” sowed doubt in the Western chancelleries present in the capital as to the future of their cooperation with Mali. “We wonder more and more who will be the next to slam the door”, slips a diplomat.

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