SEATTLE — The economic and social conditions in Mali are exacerbated by environmental and social disasters. The landlocked sub-Saharan nation that once experienced moments of peace from 1991 to 2012 has since been rocked by violence and harsh weather across the country.
Mali is 51 percent desert and 4 percent arable land with an economy that is highly dependent on short-lived rainfall for agriculture and charcoal and wood-burning for energy. Its desert weather has caused drought across the nation, leading to food shortages and violent clashes for arable lands to cultivate crops and rear cattle.
The fractured government is combating violent extremists in the north, political instability in the south and indiscriminate violence in the central part of the country. To aid local efforts international organizations have developed strategies and implementation plans for program development. The World Bank Group (WGB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have working groups in the nation focused on how to help people in Mali. The WGB uses a risk-based strategy in Mali, leveraging its expertise and successes of adequate program management, and the AfDB focuses on specific programs such as energy development.
Mali has not been able to recapture the democratic stability it once had since the violence began after the 2013 peace was breached. The WBG focuses on risk analysis of key sectors in infrastructure management and economic development to better manage how to help people in Mali. These strategies include:
- An assessment of the environmental and social risks that the country still faces. This process considers the tools in place that are used to manage dry climates and increasing drought.
- A review of the financial resources the government has to support infrastructure improvement and training programs to ensure adequate allocation and appropriate use of available funds.
- Engaging with local participants at a level and frequency that accommodates the State’s capacity to implement expected reform and manage expectations.
The AfDB focuses on Mali’s ability to capitalize on the capacity of existing natural resources such as solar and hydroelectric production. Considering that a majority (51 percent) of Mali is desert and it experiences ten hours of sunlight per day year-round, Mali can transform this into a reliable energy source. Additionally, it can use this harnessed energy to improve its access to developing power from the Niger and Senegal rivers.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) focuses on conflict resolution and the creation of peaceful societies so that economic opportunities can help people in Mali to thrive. More coherence is desired between the multitude of national organizations and local institutions that exist in Mali. The information sharing and technical capabilities of local governments and small private businesses support economic and social programs that are committed to the effectiveness of development programs.
Mining capabilities in Mali can be improved by the adequate resource management of the government. These strategies demonstrate how to help people in Mali, by improving local resources and encouraging local citizens to become self-reliant. This process improves opportunities for Mali to participate in the global marketplace and to potentially become a global exporter of renewable energy resources.
– Ebuka Okoye