EU's post-crisis plan for Mali takes shape

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, Irish Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello and European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva today at a press conference after the informal meeting of development cooperation ministers in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by: Peter Muhly / EU

More detail is emerging about the European Union’s 250 million aid package ($333 million) to Mali: It will focus on providing food and basic services to struggling citizens and on assisting the government in preparing for elections later this year.

The EU suspended direct aid following a coup last March. Last month, though, after Mali’s government agreed to hold elections in July and negotiate a peace agreement with the people of the north, Brussels indicated it was preparing a post-crisis development plan for Mali.

The plan will help to provide basic services and prepare upcoming elections, said Irish Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello on Feb. 12 after an informal development ministers’ meeting in Dublin.

“We will also provide vital water and sanitation facilities and nutrition programmes, in addition to bringing forward new proposals to help relaunch the economy,” Costello said. “Under this ambitious response plan, the EU will fund programmes to prevent conflict, facilitate reconciliation and prepare for the elections which are due to be held by July under the transition roadmap adopted by the Malian authorities.”

The National Assembly of Mali approved a “Roadmap for Transition” framework on Jan. 29, paving the way for donors to resume their operations in Mali. By Feb. 5, only two percent of a consolidated appeal for Mali, which totals $373 million for 2013, had been funded.

“The swift adoption by the Malian authorities of a transition roadmap to restore democracy and stability has opened the door for lifting the precautionary measures taken after the coup d’état of March 2012,” European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said in Dublin.

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    John Alliage Morales

    As a staff writer, John Alliage Morales covers the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community - from Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom to the downtown headquarters of USAID, the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corp. Prior to joining Devex, Alliage worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.