Rural and urban poverty remain the main challenge facing Mali. The signing of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in 2015 has revived aid programs in the industrial and agricultural sectors.
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Mopti, A seller on quays, Mali
AFD and Mali: Combating poverty and preserving peace
Mopti, A seller on quays, Mali

Facilitating access to drinking water

Young Malian girl drinking fresh water from the pump

Facilitating access to drinking water

Population growth makes facilitating access to drinking water for all a crucial issue. It is for this reason that AFD operates in both the capital, Bamako, and rural areas. We take action on two components: sanitation and water management

We have built up a large number of projects in ten years: drinking water supply in 18 municipalities in the Mopti and Kayes regions, construction of wastewater and water treatment plants in Kabala, upstream from Bamako, creation of two public water resources management companies.    

Reforming the energy sector

Solar panels on a wind farm in Mali

Reforming the energy sector

The State-owned company EDM manages electricity production and distribution in Mali and purchases energy from Côte d’Ivoire. It is loss-making, which causes cash-flow problems and slows down the investments required in a sector where demand increases by 10% a year. The Malian Government aims to launch major reforms to extend the transmission and distribution grids, raise power generation, and supply rural areas with electricity.

AFD is on hand. For example, it is financing the construction of the Manantali hydropower dam, on a tributary of the Senegal River, which is today Mali’s main source of renewable energy supply. It is also developing hybrid solar-thermal grids to electrify rural communities. In addition, it is working to optimize the interconnection of the grids of Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Guinea

Getting back to quality education

Young girl in her class in a school in Mali

Getting back to quality education

Education is a priority for Mali’s development, in view of its demography and young population. Progress was achieved in the 2000s, but the political crisis in 2012 has put a stop to this. A large number of schools had to close in the north and center of the country. 

The challenge lies in getting back to quality education and extending access to education. AFD is taking action, especially for girls, semi-nomad children and the poorest. 

In 2013, we launched the construction of five high schools and have improved education provision in the North regions (Gao). We are also financing vocational training in construction and agricultural activities (construction of two training centers in Ségou and Sikasso). 

Strengthening agriculture

Agriculture watermelons in Katibougou Mali

Strengthening agriculture

The agricultural sector is a pillar of Mali’s economy and employs some 80% of the population. While there is surplus grain production, agricultural production continues to be hindered by unfavorable environmental factors (insufficient rains, poor and fragile soils). In addition, the processing of agricultural products for export is hampered by the country’s low level of development and landlocked geography.

AFD takes action to structure agricultural sectors. It supports concerted and sustainable natural resources management in the Ségou and Timbuktu regions, strengthens food security in irrigated areas around the Niger River, promotes sustainable agricultural practices on family farms which grow cotton, and improves agricultural product processing. 

To strengthen investments in rural areas, we are also supporting access to financial services (credit, microfinance), for example, with the creation of the National Agricultural Development Bank (BNDA) in 1981.  

Supporting the private sector

A Malian in his sewing workshop, private sector Mali

Supporting the private sector

The challenge lies in creating high-quality jobs and training future employees in the industrial sector.

To achieve this, AFD supports companies via dedicated financial tools: loans to local banks, risk-sharing mechanisms (ARIZ), PROPARCO's financing, microfinance and support for productive investments made by Mali’s diaspora. 

Supporting the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation

Surgeons in the operating theater with a patient who has to have an operation at Somine Dolo Hospital in Mali health sector

Supporting the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation

The Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation was signed in 2015. Following this diplomatic success, AFD operates in Mali’s North regions and has a broad scope of actions: education, health, water, energy, family and pastoral farming, local development, governance.

Its actions are based on the principles of decentralization, a political tool identified as a major success factor for the implementation of programs, and a vehicle for reducing the country’s weaknesses. 

Mali is a Sahel country with 18 million inhabitants and is experiencing strong demographic pressure. Almost half the population lives below the poverty line and life expectancy is below 53 years. The economic structures are still weak and the lack of rain, which is exacerbated by climate change, weakens the agricultural sector – the main source of employment.  

The country experienced a major crisis in 2012. The elections in 2013, followed by the signing of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in 2015, have restored political stability, although there continue to be periodic terror attacks in the north and center of the country. 

Mali is a priority country for French aid. In 2017, AFD is supporting 55 projects in the country with a total commitment of EUR 357m. AFD has been a partner of Mali since 1958. It operates in priority sectors with loans, grants and technical assistance.

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Funding type


  • Climate
  • Education
  • Employment and Shared Prosperity
  • Energy
  • Global Partnerships
  • Health
  • Hunger and Food Security
  • Infrastructures
  • Poverty
  • Sustainable Cities

Funding type

  • Grant
  • Loan
  • Non Sovereign Concessional Loan
  • Non Sovereign Non Concessional Loan
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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Evaluation document

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Sahelian youth: dynamics of exclusion, means of integration

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Abolishing user fees for patients in West Africa: lessons for public policy

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