Located in West Africa, Mali is one of the 25 poorest countries in the world. It needs the extensive support of foreign aid. Some of the challenges Mali faces include deforestation, soil erosion, desertification and a lack of potable water. As a result, development projects in Mali are crucial.
Major development projects in Mali focus on areas in which Mali has great potential.
Top Development Projects in Mali
- The 2SCALE project, funded by DGIS-Netherlands, is working to improve agribusiness opportunities in Mali. One of the main objectives of 2SCALE is to increase productivity and farmer incomes. It helps farmers to link with “buyers, technical support providers, bank and other partners” by developing agribusiness clusters, thereby helping farmers to gain access to profitable markets.
- The Scaling Up Fertilizer Deep Placement and Microdosing Technologies project is funded by USAID. This project focuses on increasing cereal productivity in Mali, with the main goal to increase food security and smallholder farmer incomes. One of the methods this project promotes is using microdosing (MD) technology on the land, which entails applying a small amount of fertilizer directly to plant roots. This is done to increase fertilizer efficiency and the project has already proven to be successful with a notable yield increase in rice, sorghum and millet. As of 2015, the estimated value of additional crop production was more than $5 million.
- The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is working with schools and early childhood development centers to improve the education sector by promoting “low or no cost teaching and learning materials.” The AKF is working to improve the instruction of specific subjects, has helped develop infrastructure and provided school furniture and other learning materials to 21 schools. Additionally, with financial help from UNICEF and the World Bank, the AKF has supported the development of 11 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers. In partnership with Plan International, World Vision and Save the Children, the AFK also launched a new program in 2014 that will “support 10,000 children in 12 communes around Mopti and Djenne by building 12 schools and 10 early childhood development centers.”
- Finding employment is extremely difficult in the rural areas in Mali and youth unemployment is a major concern. The International Fund for Agricultural Development has an ongoing project called Rural Youth Vocational Training, Employment and Entrepreneurship Support Project that targets rural youth in Mali who lack technical skills and are denied access to financing. The project aims to improve young people’s professional skills and support them in establishing their own businesses. The project aims to help 100,000 rural youth by the end of its eight-year implementation period.
- Deforestation is a serious problem in Mali, and Tree Aid has been working there since 1993 to help villagers in arid areas to utilize the potential of trees in order to fight poverty and protect nature. With the help of local conservation organizations, such as the Malian Association for the Conservation of Wildlife and Environment (AMCFE), Tree Aid is aiming to facilitate a 400-kilometer-long corridor between Mopti and Segou. Around 1,000 farmers in 15 villages are involved in this project. By learning how to manage their land better, these farmers contribute toward increasing tree density per hectare.
While these development projects in Mali are being carried out, the armed conflict that took place at the end of 2012 in the north of Mali is still making development more difficult. This is because the military and political situation remain unstable. But with these ongoing efforts from stakeholders all around the world, Mali will begin to see the seeds of future prosperity and sutainable development.
– Mehruba Chowdhury