This is news that will not improve relations between Paris and Bamako. On Tuesday, France said it “regrets” the decision by the Malian authorities to ban the activities of NGOs it finances, citing “a decision that, unfortunately, is detrimental to the people of Mali.”
“We take note and regret the decision of the Mali transitional authorities,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “France welcomes the important work done by French, Malian and international NGOs in Mali in recent years. We ask French NGOs to comply with the unfortunate decision of the Mali transitional authorities,” the ministry added.
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While dialogue between Paris and Bamako, which accuse France of meddling in Mali’s affairs, is all but broken, the country’s ruling junta on Monday banned all French-funded or supported non-governmental organizations, including those active in the humanitarian field.
Interim Prime Minister Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga justified this by France’s recent withdrawal of official development assistance to Mali. Paris, to explain its decision, cited Mali’s use of the Russian paramilitary Wagner group, which Bamako denies.
100 million euros donated since 2013
Many NGOs work in Mali in the field of health, nutrition or education. The country, poor and landlocked, has been facing the spread of jihadism and violence of all kinds since 2012, as well as a severe political and humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict.
“We remind you that since 2013, Mali and its people have received more than 100 million euros annually in public development assistance and French humanitarian assistance, which, among other things, have contributed to access to health care, drinking water, electricity and education for people from Mali” , — claimed the Quai d’Orsay.
Since May 2021 and the second coup that consolidated their power, the Malian colonels have turned their backs on France, which has been intervening militarily in the country as part of Operation Barkhane. The last French soldier left the country in August, after nine years of fighting against jihadists alongside the Malian army. Now the colonels turned militarily and diplomatically to Moscow.