Instability continues to cost Mali in aid

Amadou Toumani Toure, former president of Mali. Photo by: Kris Krüg / CC BY-NC-SA

More donors and aid groups have suspended their development activities in Mali pending the resolution of the political and security crisis there.

An interim president is set to assume leadership of the African country following the resignation of Amadou Toumani Toure, who has been in hiding since junior soldiers staged a coup d’état March 21. News reports say coup leaders have also agreed to step aside for the interim president: Dioncounda Traore, current speaker of the parliament.

Meanwhile, a rebellion continues in northern Mali, where Tuareg rebels and Islamic extremists have taken over towns and cities. As such, it remains to be seen how the seemingly positive developments in the south will affect the decisions of Switzerland and World Vision — the latest to announce suspension of aid programs in Mali.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation temporarily halted some education, agriculture, food security, agriculture, and town and country planning programs in northern Mali. A number of humanitarian projects funded by the agency and run by the World Food Program and the Red Cross were also put on hold, according to Swiss Info.

World Vision also suspended its programs across Mali. The agency is awaiting resolution of the political instability and is set to consider resuming its activities in two weeks, News 1130 reports.

Meanwhile, convinced the coup leaders will honor the agreement to cede leadership to Traore, the Economic Community of West African Stateslifted sanctions on Mali April 8, the Voice of America reports. This comes a few days after Oxfam  urged ECOWAS to reconsider the stringent measures it imposed on the country. The sanctions, which include the closure of borders with the country, could aggravate the situation there and potentially lead to a triple food, security and political crisis, Oxfam says. Mali is among those most affected by the looming food crisis in Africa’s Sahel region.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.