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Long-term development assistance
Canada has been providing development assistance to Mali since 1962. Over the years, projects aimed at reducing poverty, improving the health of women and children, and supporting public reforms and good governance in Mali have achieved considerable success.
Even before the crisis that began in early 2012, Mali was already one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, ranking 182 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. In 2011, of a total population of 15.8 million, 50 percent lived on less than US$1.25/day and 46.6 percent was under 15 years of age. The country had higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, disease, and malnutrition than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa and an adult illiteracy rate of 70.6 percent.
By the end of 2011, the country was beginning to face a food crisis, the third one since 2005, with low and erratic rainfall causing a decrease in food production. Canada provided additional humanitarian assistance to help Malians cope with the 2012 food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and will continue to do so.
Aggravated by population displacements linked to insecurity in northern Mali and a political crisis following the coup d'état that occurred on March 22, 2012, the food crisis evolved into a humanitarian crisis in Mali. Canada condemned the coup and has suspended aid programs involving direct payments to the Government of Mali.
An economic slowdown and the suspension of aid by many other donors mean that the availability and the quality of basic social services, such as health and education services, are very limited.
DFATD's bilateral program is currently focusing on providing basic services to Malians living in southern Mali, with a particular attention on food security and nutrition. This assistance is provided through multilateral and civil society organizations.
After the coup d'état that occurred on March 22, 2012, Canada has suspended its direct aid programs involving direct payments to the Government of Mali. However, it is delivering development assistance through non-governmental organizations and multilateral channels.
Development priorities identified in Canada's 2009 Mali Country Strategy (PDF, 88 KB, 6 pages) remain relevant, but key anticipated results will have to be adapted to the new context.
In 2009, as part of Canada's new aid effectiveness agenda, Mali was selected as a country of focus for international development. Canada's international development program in Mali is directly aligned with the Government of Mali's 2012-2017 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP III) (in French), which identifies good governance, accelerated growth and sustainable job creation, equitable access to quality social services, and protection against vulnerabilities as that country's priorities.
Canada is helping Mali to decrease the mortality rate for children under the age of five through improved maternal and child health services. Under the Africa Health Systems Initiative—a multi-country program—the Agency continues to strengthen Mali's health systems to achieve concrete progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. Canada is also putting an emphasis on basic education with a view to increasing gross enrolment rate at primary school and providing quality education.
Canada supports irrigation and agricultural development projects and promotes the use of new methods and techniques to increase food security and economic growth. In this way, subsistence farmers will increase production, both for their own consumption and for selling in local markets. This effort will help make progress toward food security and price stability in urban centres. Canada also helps to increase access to credit. This, in turn, will help boost Mali's exports to neighbouring countries, where there is a growing demand, helping increase regional food security.
Canada's continued support of the public sector will help ensure fair and effective access to judicial services for citizens and businesses, the accountability of public officials, and adherence to contractual obligations. This will improve the business climate for investments and increase economic opportunities for the poor.
Canada will also strengthen the capacities of civil society organizations to monitor reforms and ensure national policies focus on poverty reduction.
Canada is fostering greater coordination among Mali's international partners and donors to harmonize development efforts. As chair of the donor group in 2010, Canada helped shape high-level policy dialogue with the Government of Mali. This type and level of interaction and influence continues to be key to Canada's ability to contribute to effective development and sustainable results in Mali.
In 2008, donors demonstrated their willingness to work together and harmonize development efforts through a joint country assistance strategy aimed at improving the effectiveness of support to PRSP II by 2011 by ensuring an adequate division of labour. Canada is helping to develop the next joint country assistance strategy, which will improve alignment, ensure greater division of labour among donors, and increase joint programming.
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