U.S. Foreign Assistance to Mali - as of November 2, 2012
In March 2012, Mali underwent a coup d’état as a result of increased political instability due to an extremist upheaval in the Northern region and military frustration. The military coup toppled the government of the elected president and suspended the Constitution. An interim president was appointed within a few weeks of the coup. In August 2012, an interim government was put in place in an attempt to restore Mali’s democratic pathway. While the political situation has restricted U.S. foreign assistance in many ways, the United States remains committed to addressing the immediate needs of the Malian people and providing a foundation for a return to democratic governance. U.S. foreign assistance is delivered through several U.S. agencies including the Department of State, USAID, Department of Defense, Millennium Challenge Corporation, National Institute of Health, and Peace Corps.
Across more than 50 years of partnership, USAID has contributed to major development gains that improve the lives of the Malian people. For example, USAID has founded farmer cooperatives and improved irrigation methods to help Mali meet increasing food demands, established a community school system and interactive radio instruction to increase access to education, and expanded health services that led to dramatic reductions in child mortality. In FY 2011 the USAID/Mali budget totaled $138 million across four program areas: health ($62 million), economic growth ($46 million), education ($20 million), governance and communications ($10.5 million). In light of legal and policy restrictions related to the coup, many programs are on hold until a duly elected government is in place again. However, USAID continues to provide critical and life-saving assistance in health and food security, as well as address humanitarian needs ($92 million in FY 2012 as of October 2012) of Malians both in Mali and refugee camps in neighboring countries.
The Department of State traditionally provides small Public Diplomacy and Self Help grants to local organizations and individuals who are leading change in their own communities. Due to coup-related restrictions, these grants are currently limited to proposals related to elections, promoting democracy, and countering violent extremism. Since the coup and as of October 2012, about $20,000 in elections and democracy-related Public Diplomacy grants have been awarded in Mali. In FY 2012, nearly $50,000 in Self Help grants were awarded.
Since 1971, more than 2,500 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in over 1,000 Malian communities. Before the coup, the Peace Corps program in Mali was one of largest in Africa with nearly 200 volunteers and an annual budget of $4 million. Volunteers worked in five sectors: water and sanitation, health, agroforestry, economic development, and education. While the program has been suspended since April 2012, the Peace Corps office in Mali remains open and operational, with 1 U.S. direct hire staff and 52 local staff in country as of October 2012. Peace Corps is currently considering possibilities for a limited number of volunteers to return in FY 2013.
Prior to the coup, security cooperation efforts included $300,000 in International Military Education and Training programs and additional funding for African Contingency Operations Assistance, AFRICOM humanitarian assistance programs, the Counter-Terrorism Fellowship Program, Department of Defense HIV-AIDS Prevention Program, and quarterly bilateral military training and exercises. A military information support team provided public outreach funds for radio programming and training. As a result of the coup, all military assistance has been suspended.
In 2006, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact with the Government of Mali to reduce poverty and catalyze economic growth. Key infrastructure investments included improving agricultural production and irrigation north of Segou and modernizing an airport in Bamako that serves as a gateway for regional and international trade. Projected for completion in September 2012, the Compact was terminated in May 2012 as a result of the coup d’état. Nevertheless, the final Compact amount ($436 million) left a significant and lasting impact on Mali by improving irrigation systems, access to credit, and land rights, which all contributed to improvements in farmers’ incomes.
In FY 2011, National Institute of Health funding was approximately $10.6 million. These funds continue to provide vital training and research opportunities for Malian, American and international students and researchers. Research on infectious and parasitic diseases focuses on epidemiology, vector ecology, immunology, and vaccine development.