Six months ago, the transitional authorities in Mali banned all French funding for NGOs working on Malian territory in retaliation for the suspension by France of its development aid to Mali. Only emergency funding had been maintained before Bamako banned it. This decision has caused immense concern in the humanitarian sector in Mali. Now, we can assess the consequences of this decision and how Malian and international NGOs have adapted.
The program director of a major French humanitarian NGO explains that, out of all the programs that they had suspended, only one has been definitively abandoned, while the rest have resumed after a few weeks of suspension.
About 30% of the activities in Mali of this NGO were financed by French public funds. These activities are now covered by other international donors, in particular by the European Union. French staff in the country were slightly reduced, but no Malian employees had to be made redundant.
Previously allocated to Mali for the food emergency, French funds have been redeployed to other Sahelian countries in the region. After considering leaving Mali for a time, the program director of this French NGO says he is confident about the continuation of his activities in the country. “It is our interlocutors in the regions, the local authorities, who help us the most, explains this source, because they relay with the central power by clearly expressing their needs”.
No drilling, no lighting
In total, around forty French NGOs were working in Mali when the Bamako authorities announced their decision, according to figures provided at the time by Paris. As a reminder, Bamako did not ban French NGOs, but French public funding as well as material or technical support from France. Asked by RFI, the French Embassy in Mali was unable to specify before the publication of this article if this figure was still valid.