IFC is backing recovery in Mali, which was plunged into chaos following a 2012 coup, but has since held a peaceful presidential election and is now pushing ahead with the reforms necessary to strengthen its economy and win back international investment.
A vast desert country of only 14 million people, Mali is one of Africa’s largest gold producers, its biggest cotton exporter, and is crucial to development across the Sahel region, which has recently suffered from crippling droughts and famine.
Despite Mali’s regional importance, however, the country struggles with widespread poverty and unemployment, which have inflamed longstanding tensions between its northern and southern regions.
IFC and the World Bank are again working in Mali to help the country build the strong economy it will need to create jobs and opportunity and entrench long-term stability.
Part of IFC’s renewed commitment to Mali is reflected in the country’s addition to IFC’s Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), which supports private sector development and recovery in countries recovering from conflict. Backed by donor partners Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway, CASA will work closely with Mali’s public and private sectors to develop interventions for economic growth.
“A major focus of IFC’s work in Africa is helping strengthen the private sectors of countries recovering from conflict,” said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa. “IFC and the World Bank are committed to helping Mali introduce reforms that will attract investment and spur business growth, increasing job opportunities and reducing the risk of a return to instability and conflict.”
One Stop Shop Before Mali’s political crisis – the most serious in its recent history – IFC was actively involved in the country, supporting small business growth and investment climate reform.
IFC and the World Bank helped Mali establish an Investment Promotion Agency, which attracted $25 million to the country’s agriculture sector between 2010 and 2012. IFC also helped Mali set up a one-stop-shop for business registration that cut the time needed to start a business from 26 days to only 8 days.
Renewing its work in Mali, IFC has recently teamed with the World Bank and Mali’s government to draft a National Investment Promotion Strategy, which will serve as a roadmap for the country’s future economic growth.
The strategy focuses on boosting development in Mali’s important agriculture, mining, and tourism sectors and will also work to address longstanding infrastructure problems, such as access to electricity, which stands at only 10 percent.
IFC will also focus on encouraging entrepreneurship and building the capacity of MSMEs, improving the investment climate, and providing support to projects in strategic sectors.