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Mali - US Relations

Following the August 2020 coup díetat in Mali, the United States restricted assistance to the Government of Mali in accordance with provisions of the annual appropriations acts. After the 24 May 2021 military coup, the US suspended security assistance that benefits the Malian Security and Defense Forces that had continued previously pursuant to available authorities. The United States will also consider targeted measures against political and military leaders who impede Maliís civilian-led transition to democratic governance.

The United States strongly condemns the detention of civilian leaders of Maliís transition government. The US supported the 24 May 2021 joint statement of ECOWAS and the African Union, and was working closely with the local transition monitoring committee and other international actors to seek the immediate and unconditional release of those detained and resumption of the civilian-led transition.

The US believed a democratic, civilian-led government presented the best opportunity to achieve security and prosperity in Mali and the wider Sahel region. The Malian transition governmentís commitment to a civilian-led transition and democratic elections in 2022 set the stage for Maliís continued engagement with international partners to advance democracy, human rights, peace, and security efforts. The events of 24 May 2021 put that progress at risk.

U.S.-Malian relations had been based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. The bilateral agenda was dominated by efforts to increase broad-based growth, improve health and educational facilities, counter the spread of highly infectious diseases, encourage regional stability, build peacekeeping capabilities, institutionalize respect for human rights, and strengthen democratic institutions in offering good governance. Mali was a small market for U.S. trade and investment, but there is potential for growth as its economy expands.

The United States established diplomatic relations with Mali in 1960, following its independence from France. independence and the departure of the French military meant that President Keita started to look around to find new sources of assistance for equipping and modernizing the Malian Army. Keita wanted training for paratroopers, because the huge size of the country and the desert in the north may require the means to move troops quickly and by air. The U.S. Government agreed to send a couple of airplanes and trainers to teach the Malians to jump out of planes. An agreement was signed --military to military -- which undoubtedly contributed to the good relations between the U.S. and this new West African independent republic, which has been continual for more than 40 years. The military agreementwas matched by an economic assistance agreement which was signed in 1960.

In 1992, Mali moved from a one-party state to multiparty democracy. In March 2012, Maliís elected civilian government was removed in a military seizure of power, and an interim administration was subsequently put in place. Despite a peace agreement signed in June 2015 and the presence of UN peacekeeping and French forces, rebel groups are still active in northern Mali. The fragile resulting security environment has made implementation of the peace accord more challenging.

U.S.-Mali relations have been strong for decades and have been based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. Except for during the 2012 crisis, the countryís democratic government has significantly reduced poverty and improved the quality of life for many Malians. However, Mali remained near the bottom of the Human Development Index, notably in health and education. Mali continues to face security challenges.

Mali is a leading regional partner in U.S. efforts against terrorism. Mali is also host to a world-class National Institutes of Health laboratory and research facility whose aim is to develop anti-malaria vaccines and medicines. USAID, Peace Corps, and other U.S. Government programs play a significant role in fostering sustainable economic and social development. USAID programs also strengthen efforts to consolidate the peace process in northern Mali and the region's socioeconomic and political integration. Defense Department security assistance programs and training support build Maliís capacity to meet its various security challenges.

U.S. foreign assistance to Mali totaled more than $135.4 million in FY 2014 with $130 million officially requested for FY 2015. First and foremost, U.S. assistance to Mali seeks to support the countryís fragile peace and implementation of the June 20 peace accord. Key U.S. interests in Mali include promoting a stable democracy and improved governance; promoting regional security by combatting terrorists and traffickers who seek to exploit ungoverned spaces in the Sahel; reducing chronic vulnerability by improving social development and increasing sustainable livelihoods; and encouraging economic growth, opportunity and development by supporting sustainable development and increased U.S. economic investment. From these interests our mission goals include: 1) promoting democratic institutions, responsive governance, and respect for human rights, 2) enhancing regional security by building institutions to counter transnational threats, 3) advancing social development (particularly health and education), 4) increasing economic growth and sustainable livelihoods, and 5) promoting the U.S as a key partner to Malian stakeholders, enhancing mutual understanding, and protecting the wellbeing of U.S. citizens.

US foreign assistance is administered through a whole of government approach that includes but is not limited to the recent return of Peace Corps, and the long-standing in-country presence of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute for Health (NIH), and the Department of Defense (DOD), Furthermore, Mali is a focus country for USG assistance priorities and initiatives, including but not limited to: Women, Peace and Security (WPS), the Trans-Sahel Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSTCP), the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), Global Climate Change (GCC), Feed the Future (FTF), Resilience, the Presidentís Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Presidentís Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Death (EPCMD).

On October 9, 2015, the U.S. Government, through USAID, signed a formal agreement with the Government of Mali to implement USAID/Maliís new 5-year Country Development Cooperation Strategy (available here). USAID/Maliís projected $690 million investment for FY 2016-2020 will seek the following goal: ďMalians secure a democratic, resilient, and prosperous futureĒ through four objectives: 1) Stabilization of conflict-affected areas reinforced (ie: support for humanitarian assistance and transition to development in Maliís northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal); 2) Fostering improved public trust in government (ie: through improved public service delivery (especially health, education, and justice), administration of justice and respect for human rights, and citizen participation in Malian electoral processes); 3) Increased resilience and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities and households (through mitigation of climate change, countering violent extremism, economic diversification and strengthening human capital); and 4) increased prosperity through advancing socio-economic well-being (particularly through improving health services and adopting healthy behaviors, reducing poverty and malnutrition through investment in agriculture, and promoting early grade reading for boys and girls).

Underlying this goal is the understanding that a democratic, resilient, and prosperous future is unattainable if the country, as a whole, does not benefit from development assistance. U.S. programming will focus on achieving tangible peace dividends and continuing our commitment to working with all Malians.

In 2011, USAID celebrated 50 years of presence and partnership with Mali, a landlocked country that is one of worldís poorest. USAID worked with the people of Mali to achieve major development gains, particularly in the fields of health, agriculture, and education. In 1960, one out of every two children died before his fifth birthday; today that number is down to one child in five -- still much too high, but a major improvement thanks in large part to USAIDís support. Because agriculture and livestock provide employment to approximately 80% of the active labor force and account for 42% of the gross domestic product, USAID funded farmer cooperatives that developed improved, high-yielding and pest-resistant seeds, as well as irrigation methods to help Mali meet increasing food demand. Between 2000 and 2010, main crop production increased 150%, thanks to investments like these.

USAID also helped Malians to establish a community school system and interactive radio instruction to increase access to and the quality of education. Significant development gains over the past decades earned Mali the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact and four presidential development initiatives - the Presidentís Malaria Initiative; Feed the Future; the Global Health Initiative; and the Global Climate Change Initiative.

Following peaceful democratic elections and the inauguration of President Keita [KAY-tah] on September 4, 2013 the USAID mission in Mali began working with the Government of Mali to resume foreign assistance more broadly, including education and governance activities that had been suspended since the coup, while also adapting continued activities to the newly-elected Government of Mali priorities as necessary.

The Mali Peace Initiative Activity (ACCORD in French), implemented by AECOM, aims to strengthen targeted communitiesí resilience to conflict and radicalization by working with local government and communities to address priority development and reconciliation needs. This transition project will lay the foundation to shift from emergency conflict prevention activities to scalable and sustainable peacebuilding and stabilization development activities in conflict-affected communities. It will improve prospects for long-term peace, security and resilience by increasing and strengthening the role and voice of women and youth in political and peace processes through engagement on priority development and reconciliation needs; active participation in local peacebuilding and decision-making; and collective action for social and political change.

In March 2020, the US conducted a training exercise with Malian special forces who went on to overthrow the government. The name of the exercise: Military-Civilian cooperation. It was the second time in eight years that US-trained Malian soldiers have carried out a coup in their country and some are questioning whether US military training encourages or hinders coups. A study has found that US-trained soldiers, once back in their home countries, are twice as likely to commit a coup than those who had received no such training.

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Page last modified: 14-09-2021 15:43:31 ZULU