EU aid for Mali resumed
Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello and European environment commissioner Janez Potocnik at a meeting to discuss aid to Mali in Dublin Castle today. Photograph: Justin Mac Innes/Getty Images
Mali has received a boost from EU ministers who have announced a donors’ conference and the resumption of development aid for the war-torn state.
The donors conference will take place in April or May to raise money for Mali, which has been “neglected for a long time”, said European development commissioner Adris Piebalgs, after a two-day meeting in Dublin today.
“There are no roads, no sufficient social service provision” and it was vital to “make Mali stable”, he added.
Ireland would make a contribution at the conference but the amount had yet to be decided, said Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello. Ireland has so far given over €10 million in humanitarian aid to Mali.
The overall amount being sought at the donors’ conference had also not been decided but it was important that a big effort was put in to prepare the conference so that sufficient funds would be pledged, officials said.
The EU’s development aid programme to Mali, worth up to €250 million, was resumed yesterday after it was suspended last March following a military coup.
A power vacuum created by the coup prompted Tuareg rebels and Islamist extremists to take over most of the country.
EU defence ministers meeting in Dublin today and tomorrow are discussing an EU mission to train local Mali forces. Ireland is among the countries expected to participate.