Mali bans the activities of NGOs funded by France in reaction to a decision in Paris.
Published on 22.11.2022
Actu Cameroun reports that in a statement issued on Monday, the Malian government announced the ban on the activities of NGOs funded by France. This decision, which takes effect immediately, concerns not only French NGOs, but also all those “operating in Mali with funding from France”, or even simply “with material or technical support from France”.
For the time being, the list of NGOs concerned has not been established. But many Malian NGOs may also be concerned.
This decision by the Malian authorities follows the decision by France to cut off development aid intended for Mali. Paris had mentioned in particular links with the private security group, Wagner. For Bamako, this decision is a non-event.
The deterioration of relations continues between Bamako and Paris. In response to France’s suspension of development aid to Mali, the country’s transitional government announced on November 21 a ban on the activities of all non-governmental organizations funded or supported by France. Organizations operating in the humanitarian field are also concerned.
In its press release, the Malian government explains that it has taken note of the measure taken by Paris “on the fallacious grounds of Mali-Russian military cooperation”, as well as the “direct granting to French NGOs of funds made available within the framework of France’s humanitarian action in Mali”. Attributing these “fanciful allegations” to the “French junta” (in reference to the term used to qualify the Malian transitional authorities), Bamako denounces an attempt by France “to destabilize and isolate Mali”.
The text, signed by the hand of the interim Prime Minister and government spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, explains that the French decision to suspend its aid in fact contributes to restoring the “contempted dignity” of Malians. Paris is thus reproached for “dehumanizing aid […] and used as a means of blackmailing governments” as well as “active support for terrorist groups” – an argument that the French government has always denied.
On November 17, the Quai d’Orsay announced that it was suspending French development aid to Mali. According to Bamako, this decision was actually notified through diplomatic channels in February. “Faced with the attitude of the Malian junta, allied to Wagner’s Russian mercenaries, we have suspended our public development aid with Mali”, explained a source quoted by AFP.
The Malian authorities have always denied having called on the Russian private company and speak of Russian army instructors deployed in the name of collaboration between the two countries. On November 22, France indicated that it “regrets” the decision which, according to it, “unfortunately intervenes to the detriment of the Malian population”. A collective of NGOs denounces the French decision In its announcement, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs added to maintain its “humanitarian aid” and some support for “Malian civil society organizations”, without citing specific names. But the decision of Paris was not favorably received by the main interested parties.
Thus, in a letter sent on November 15 to Emmanuel Macron, consulted by AFP, a group of NGOs (including CCFD Terre-solidaire, Handicap international, Médecins du monde and Oxfam) expressed their concern. “As recipients of a significant portion of this funding, particularly since the suspension of direct bilateral aid between French and Malian public institutions, the international solidarity organizations that we represent are very concerned about the consequences of such a decision. for the population, Malian civil society organizations, as well as their own organization”, wrote these NGOs.
According to them, 7.5 million Malians need assistance, “that is more than 35% of the population”. They also underlined that Mali is in 184th position on the human development index. “The removal of this funding will lead to the cessation of essential, even vital activities […] for the benefit of populations in a situation of great fragility or poverty”, they warned. The organizations called on the Head of State to reconsider this decision, arguing that public development aid from France via these NGOs should be “guaranteed outside of any political or security agenda, and only according to the needs of the populations” . A call that has not yet been heard…
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