Africa-France Summit in Bamako

Africa-France Summit in Bamako

It is the photo that the Malian authorities dreamed of. 35 heads of state and government gathered in Bamako around President Keïta. The Africa-France summit, scheduled in the Mali capital, could have been canceled, given the jihadist threat present in the region. But the summit took place and went smoothly. Much to the satisfaction of the government.

“This summit is a success – assures Boubou Cissé, Minister of Finance – there are no doubts. It will be a cornerstone for Mali’s image, as a destination that can attract foreign investments ”.

Because the Bamako summit is not just a meeting between political leaders. International investors
have been invited for a kind of ‘seduction operation’: discussing business prospects so as not to focus exclusively on security issues.

“Mali is an agricultural country, a farming country, a mining country – explains Moussa Ismaila Touré, from the agency for the promotion of investments in Mali – All these riches are still here. The fact that we have gone through a crisis and remained standing gives us the advantage of being able to say that our wealth is still there. It is necessary, even more than before, to put them into value, to transform them. Through this crisis the needs have multiplied ”.

In recent years, Mali has been the scene of political instability. A coup d’état in 2012, then the actions of armed groups, from the north of the country to Bamako.

Olivier Péguy, euronews: “A little over a year ago this hotel in the capital of Mali was hit by an attack. The dead were more than twenty. The facility has been reopened. Of course, the security measures have been strengthened. But the reopening testifies to the will to move forward ”.

Securing a territory that is twice the size of France is a real challenge. Of particular concern is the northern desert region. The government’s efforts have garnered the support of the international community. Since 2013, the UN has deployed the MINUSMA mission .

“To say that stabilization or that safety, for goods and people, have been achieved is too much – explains Mahamat Saleh Annadif, head of MINUSMA – is a slow process but we hope that things can improve. We have a long way to go but things are getting started little by little ”.

In June 2015, an agreement was signed between the government and several armed groups. A national conference is planned in March to accelerate the implementation of this agreement. Malians are hoping for better days.

“We understand that reconstruction is starting, albeit timidly, where there is a bit of stability – tells us Oumou Sall Seck, mayor of Goundam, in northern Mali – where the UN peacekeepers are present. We can live, we can rebuild. And hope is reborn in us ”.

Security alone is not enough to fuel hopes. It must be linked to a development policy: investing in schools, vocational training, health in order to offer prospects to the population.

“There is no lasting security, in spite of any military intervention, even if efficient, if there are no development actions, before, during and after – assures Rémy Rioux, head of AFD , the French Agency for development – These are the two major themes of the summit: the action of development agencies, which was interrupted by the crisis, and security problems, which still exist. But now the international financial community has returned to Mali ”.

“The most important thing – emphasizes Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga – is that people renounce violence in order to regain cohesion, common sense and, in any case, the awareness of a common destiny, so that we can move forward”.