Canada has been providing development assistance to Mali since 1962. Mali has been designated as one of Canada’s countries of focus for international development assistance since 2009.

In 2015, Mali ranked 179th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. In 2014, 50.6 percent of Mali’s 15.8 million inhabitants lived on less than US$1.25 per day, and 47.5 percent of the population was under 15 years of age. The country had an adult illiteracy rate of approximately 66 percent and higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, disease and malnutrition than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, life expectancy at birth was just 58 years.

Mali experienced a political crisis that culminated in a military coup d’état on March 22, 2012. The political and security crisis was exacerbated by a food crisis. Canada condemned the coup and suspended its aid programs that involved direct payments to the Government of Mali. This suspension was lifted in February 2014.

Canada provided humanitarian assistance to help Malians cope with the crisis and continues to respond to Mali’s humanitarian needs, especially the needs of people living in northern Mali, where the effects of the conflict and of the 2012 food and nutrition crisis are still being felt. Canada also continues to implement its programming to help Mali get back on the road to development, peace and stability.


In 2014, Mali was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts. The overall objective of Canada’s program in Mali is to reduce inequality and poverty among the most vulnerable people, particularly women and youth. The development program focuses on delivering basic services to Malian women and men and puts the emphasis on health, education, food security and nutrition, while supporting reform to improve governance.

Canada’s international development program in Mali is aligned with CREDD 2016–2018 (in French only, PDF, 1MB, 136 pages), Mali’s strategic framework for economic recovery and sustainable development. This strategy identifies Mali’s priorities as good governance, inclusive economic growth, sustainable job creation, equitable access to quality social services, and peace and security.  

Children and youth including maternal, newborn and child health

Canada is helping Mali to reduce the mortality rate among children under the age of five by improving maternal, newborn and child health services. Canada is Mali’s leading partner in maternal and child health, which encompasses the broader health of women and girls, including reproductive health. Canada continues to strengthen Mali’s health system so concrete progress can be made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Canada is also putting an emphasis on basic education in order to increase the primary gross enrolment ratio and provide quality education.

Key anticipated results
  • The maternal mortality rate of 368 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 will be reduced.
  • The infant mortality rate of 56 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014 will be reduced.
  • Teachers at public and community schools will receive ongoing training to improve the quality of education.
  • Assistance will be provided to increase the primary school enrolment rate, which sat at 58 percent in 2014.

Food security

Canada supports irrigation and agricultural development projects and promotes the use of innovative methods and techniques to increase food security and stimulate economic growth against a backdrop of climate change. This will allow farmers to produce more, both for their own consumption and for sale on local markets and on the markets of neighbouring countries. This progress will help to strengthen food security and stabilize prices in urban centres.

Canada supports the development of financial products adapted to the agriculture sector, is making these products more accessible to rural populations, and supports the economic empowerment of women so that Malians can meet their socio-economic development needs, while helping to increase food security in the region.

Key anticipated results
  • Up to 22,800 hectares of new land will be developed, promoting the secure production of over 33,000 tonnes of cereals, including 28,000 tonnes of rice, and over 65,000 tonnes of market-garden produce.
  • Organizations of rural producers, both women and men, will be trained to use new farming and management techniques, increasing climate change resilience.
  • Farmer organizations will enhance their ability to access agricultural credit and markets, improving their productivity and their income.


Canada supports the functioning of Mali’s justice system and is helping to enhance the credibility, efficiency and accessibility of Mali’s justice system for all citizens, particularly women. Canada is supporting the Office of the Auditor General of Mali and is helping to upgrade Mali’s public administration to improve the management of public finances and help combat corruption in Mali.

Canada will also build the capacity of civil society organizations in the areas of development policy analysis, lobbying and citizen oversight so they can better fulfill their role as development players and agents of social change.

Key anticipated results
  • A larger percentage of recommendations contained in reports from the Office of the Auditor General will be implemented.
  • Judicial control and inspection will be strengthened, and citizens, particularly women, will have improved access to the justice system.
  • Civil society organizations will increase their capacity for dialogue, analysis, research and citizen engagement around development policies.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Since 2008, donors have demonstrated their willingness to work together and harmonize development efforts through a joint assistance strategy aimed at improving the effectiveness of support to the Government of Mali’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy by ensuring that the work is divided appropriately. Canada helped to develop the joint assistance strategy, which will ensure that the work is effectively harmonized and divided between the Government of Mali and its partners. In addition, since January 2016 Canada has been chairing the “Troika” that coordinates the group of development partners in Mali and has been using that platform to promote Canadian values, such as good governance, gender equality and results-based management.

Cumulative achievements  

Over the years, considerable success has been achieved in initiatives to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, improve Mali’s education system, build the capacities of agricultural producers (both women and men) and improve good governance in Mali.

  • Canada contributed to a national increase in the rate of births assisted by qualified personnel (doctor, midwife or nurse), which has noticeably improved since 2013. The rate was 30.2 percent in 2014 compared with 26.5 percent in 2013.
  • Through health budget support, Canada contributed to a national increase in the use of family planning services (annual number of couple-years of protection from 90,542 couples in 2006 to 494,724 couples in 2014).  
  • In the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou and Mopti, between 2014 and 2015, schools targeted by Canada increased their primary gross enrolment ratio by 13.5 percent (69.6 percent in 2014 to 83.1 percent in 2015) and enrolment in the first cycle of primary education by 23.7 percent (57.6 percent in 2014 to 81.3 percent in 2015). Also, 90 percent of childcare centres supported by Canada were operational, compared with 47 percent in 2014.
  • In 2015–2016, Canada helped to increase agricultural productivity in Mali through its support for the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. This financial support contributed to the production of 13,000 tonnes of market-garden crops and 2,000 tonnes of dried almonds, while 8,744 tonnes of cereals were marketed.
  • In total, Canadian food security assistance in Mali in 2015–2016 helped to diversify agricultural production (market-garden crops, cereals), build the capacity of 132 farmers’ groups and 16 cooperative organizations (the majority of their 46,000 members are women), and improve living conditions.   
  • Canada provided support to create an audit unit and build internal financial management and accounting capacity in the Office of the Auditor General of Mali. In October 2015, Mali’s Auditor General submitted his 2013 and 2014 annual reports to the President of the Republic. For the 2014 report, out of 16 audits conducted, the total sum of the financial irregularities came to 72.88 billion CFAF (C$160 million), of which 33.86 billion CFAF (C$75 million) was fraud (46.46 percent of the total sum) and 39.02 billion CFAF (C$86 million) was poor management. The tabling of the 2015 audit report is scheduled for July 2016.  

Map of international development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

Map of international development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Mali (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada141.30
Other departments and sources11.51