Map and flag Mali

Country profile HDI (UNDP):

Belgian development cooperation has been working in Mali for around 20 years and has constantly provided development assistance there. According to the United Nations, Mali is the fifth poorest country in the world (2009). It is a land-locked Sahel country (with no sea access) and has suffered a series of droughts over the last three decades. In 2012, Mali experienced a political and military crisis: a Tuareg rebel offensive, a military coup, the occupation of two-thirds of the territory by jihadists and military intervention initiated by France. In 2013, following the presidential and parliamentary elections, a transitional government brought up legitimate institutions and a reconstruction phase.  

Agreement on cooperation

Belgium and Mali agreed a new cooperation programme for the period from 2009 to 2012. It has a budget of €50.5 million and was extended to 2014. It was decided that Belgium’s assistance would concentrate on two priority sectors: rural development and food security and support for the decentralisation process (Mali began reforming its public sector in 1993). The overarching themes of this cooperation programme are gender , environment/climate change.

Rural development and food security

Belgium is supporting projects that give families the chance to rebuild their herds of zebu, which are their main source of income and encourages the promotion of fish farming in the southern part of the country. Beside this, a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder program control against food insecurity and malnutrition in the circles of Nara and Nioro in Sahel is implemented within the framework of the Belgian Fund for Food Security (BFFS).


The decentralisation process is our second area of focus in Mali. Granting more responsibilities and resources to local authorities is essential for local embedment and democracy, local development and the fight against poverty. In the Koulikoro region, we are building the capacities of local elected representatives and their administrative staff through training sessions and support with day-to-day management.

Belgium also finances some of the tools and infrastructure that decentralised institutions need to function well. The purpose of the public sector reform in which Belgium is involved is to enable local authorities to meet the population’s day-to-day needs at local level.


Belgium is also active in promoting gender equality, reducing inequality between men and women, and environment. On urban sanitation, we provide a focused expertise that aims to strengthen an integrated policy for collection, sorting, recycling and disposal of solid waste in the city of Sikasso. Finally, in 2013, Belgium has contributed to the funding of the electoral process.

More information

Belgian representation

Website of the Belgian diplomatic office in Mali