France has suspended its development assistance to Mali on Thursday, citing the presence of Wagner mercenaries from Russia, according to French media reports and Foreign Ministry officials. The move came as tensions between Russia and the West continue to simmer.
France has been one of Mali’s top development partners, and the decision to stop its assistance could have a significant impact on the country. It is not clear how long the suspension will last.
The Foreign Ministry officials said the decision was taken in response to the “negative security developments” in Mali, specifically the presence of the Wagner mercenaries. Wagner is a private military contractor that is believed to have ties to the Kremlin.
France’s humanitarian aid to Mali and support for select non-governmental groups will be maintained, said reports. The move comes as the country looks to bolster its presence in the region amid growing insecurity. France has been a leading contributor to the fight against Islamist militants in the region, providing both military and financial support. While the country’s aid efforts have been praised, they have also come under scrutiny, with some critics accusing Paris of using aid as a tool of political influence.
Media reports said that the decision to close the migrant camp in Calais was made two to three weeks ago. Several non-governmental organisations submitted a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron objecting to the decision. The organisations said that the camp closure would put the migrants at risk and make it more difficult for them to claim asylum.
France has a long history of engagement in Mali, dating back to the colonial period. In recent years, France has been one of the largest donors of development assistance to Mali.
Between 2013 and 2017, the French Development Agency (AFD) provided €473 million in aid to Mali. This aid has been used to support a variety of programs and projects in the country, including health, education, and economic development.
France’s assistance to Mali has contributed to improving the lives of many Malians. However, challenges remain, and France will continue to work with the Malian government and people to help address them.
Mali is ranked 186th on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2021 Human Development Index and is therefore categorised as a low human development country. It is estimated that about 40% of Mali’s population of 20 million people are in need of assistance.
Mali faces many development challenges, including high levels of poverty, food insecurity, and environmental degradation. The country also has a very low rate of school enrollment and a high rate of child mortality. However, Mali has made some progress in recent years, including increasing access to basic health care and improving maternal health.
The country has been the target of terror organizations linked to al-Qaeda and Daesh since 2011 and has had five military coups since gaining independence from France in 1960. The most recent coup was in August 2020, when a group of military officers seized power from the democratically-elected government. Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with a population of 18 million.
Mi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of just $1,500. The vast majority of the population relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. Mali is also one of the driest countries in the world, and has been plagued by droughts and food shortages in recent years.
Mali’s efforts to maintain relations with France during military governments began to unravel in 2020, after a series of coups shook the country. The first coup, in August 2020, saw a military faction take control of the government. This was followed by another coup in May 2021, when a different military group seized power.
France, which has long been Mali’s main ally, condemned both coups and called for a return to civilian rule. As relations between the two countries have deteriorated, France has withdrawn its troops from Mali, and Mali has increasingly turned to other partners, such as China, for support.