Mali and Aid

by Developed Africa 19. August 2013 09:00

Highlighted recently in a number of articles from Africa Review, Mali can be seen have suffered due to foreign aid.

It is evident from the reports that Foreign aid has done Mali no favours, and if anything, it is causing it more damage. The country has become dependent on aid, but not only that, it was dependent upon the jobs created by the NGOs working in the country, as one youth advocate reported

When the NGOs left, we were hit twice, of course the aid projects were important, but the unemployment effects were worse- up to 30% of youth worked for humanitarian organisations".

The NGOs mentioned here left following the 2012 coup in which a group of mutinying Malian soldiers overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure, which created the "first contraction in GDP growth since 1993" strong evidence of weak foreign aid projects that had merely been holding the economy together rather than doing anything to benefit it long term. 

This transition period presents Mali and its donors with the opportunity to address systemic issues that previously impeded development"

But what it also means is that Mali has a new opportunity to change the structure upon which its economy is based, rather than aid based, now is the time for Mali to increase foreign investment, rather than aid. And rather than fearing for the 30,000 youth who enter the economy every year with no prospect of a job, the Malian government should see them as an asset, who can turn Mali's prospects around. 

Following the election results last Tuesday which announced the new President to be Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, there is the possibility of a new, peaceful era for Mali, as Mr Keita claims:

I will bring peace and security. I will revive dialogue between all the sons of our nation and I will gather our people around the values that have built our history: dignity, integrity, courage and hard work"

But in order to move on from this dependence on aid, the opportunity needs to be seized now, and business needs to be at the forefront of Mali's economy. In order to do so, foreign investment is needed, not foreign aid, but investment which will allow Malian's to provide their own solutions and to build and grow their own economy. 

Developed Africa provides a platform from which Malian's with business opportunities and ideas can receive reach the audience they need in order to prosper. 

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