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Canada’s engagement in Mali

Through an integrated approach, Canada is committed to supporting Mali in its efforts to overcome the ongoing instability it has been facing since 2012 and build a better future for all Malians. In close collaboration with Mali and its international partners, Canada contributes to efforts toward building foundations for durable peace, sustainable development and prosperity in the service of all.

To achieve this, Canada’s work in Mali focuses on:

  • Increasing Canada’s diplomatic engagement in Mali
  • Improving the lives of Malians, especially women and children, by reducing poverty and inequality through development programming
  • Providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need
  • Supporting economic growth that works for everyone through promoting sustainable development and increased investments
  • Supporting Mali’s peace and reconciliation process through a range of activities to promote stability, fight terrorism and encourage dialogue between the government and armed groups to establish a lasting peace

Canada’s whole-of-government approach is built on over five decades of cooperation with Mali, where Canada is recognized as a credible and strategic partner.

Canada’s areas of action

Diplomatic engagement

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Mali is one of Canada’s main partners in Africa and within La Francophonie. Canada and Mali established diplomatic relations in 1969 and continue to maintain a strong bilateral relationship over half a century later, with a key foundation being Canada’s development assistance program.

Canada has actively supported international efforts to restore stability in Mali since the 2012 coup d’état and the resulting crisis. This has included political and diplomatic support to help broker a peaceful settlement of the conflict. To that end, Canada works in conjunction with the Government of Mali, the United Nations, and other partners to enable the effective implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, which is also known as the Algiers Accord (in French only). Such efforts are complemented by an increased emphasis on stabilization programming.

Development assistance

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Photo credit: Canadian Embassy in Mali

Canada is a long-standing partner for promoting peace, security and sustainable development in Mali. Since 2000, Canada has provided nearly $1.6 billion in international assistance to Mali, including $136.4 million in 2017 to 2018.

Canada is well positioned to help ensure the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women and children. Canada has the expertise, credibility, experience, and a network of strong partnerships on the ground, which has led to meaningful results and made a real difference in the lives of Malians.

A series of stories, written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mali, demonstrates the success of Canada’s international development initiatives. The stories convey a historical and human perspective about the long term results achieved through these initiatives and with the contribution of various partners. To learn more about the effect of Canada’s development assistance in Mali, please read stories about Mali.

Canadian development assistance in Mali focuses on the following key areas: improving basic social services, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, nutrition and basic education; promoting growth that works for everyone through agriculture, irrigation and access to inclusive financial services; and promoting gender equality and inclusive governance. This assistance is in line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and has made it possible to achieve significant results in the fight against poverty and improving the living conditions of Malians. For more information on Canada’s development projects in Mali, consult the Project Browser.

Humanitarian assistance

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Photo credit: OCHA/Tanya Bindra

Canada’s humanitarian funding in Mali supports a gender-responsive, multi-sectoral response to the needs of conflict and drought-affected populations. Canada’s assistance is helping to provide food, treatment for acute malnutrition, drinking water, hygiene, sanitation, health services (including sexual and reproductive health services), protection (including support to survivors of sexual violence) and support to livelihoods for vulnerable populations. Since 2012, Canada has allocated more than $66 million in humanitarian assistance to Mali to address the effects of violence and food insecurity in northern Mali.

Trade and investment agreements

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Canada and Mali have an established trade relationship, which has significant growth potential. In 2019, bilateral merchandise trade reached $29.5 million, including $26.6 million in exports and $2.9 million in imports. Mali is a country that offers opportunities for Canadian companies in different sectors, including mining, security, energy (especially renewable energy), engineering and education. Investments in the mining sector have become an important economic lever to support the trade relations between the two countries and contribute significantly to Mali’s fiscal revenues. Two Canadian companies, B2Gold and Robex Resources, opened gold mines in Mali in 2017 and 2018. B2Gold is currently the largest Canadian mining investor in the country.

A foreign investment promotion and protection agreement became effective in June 2016, which should further promote and secure investment between the two countries.

Promoting peace, security and stabilization

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Photo credit: RCMP

Canada supports Mali’s peace and reconciliation process through a range of activities to improve security and stability in the region, support counterterrorism efforts, and encourage dialogue between the government and armed groups to establish a lasting peace.

Canada recognizes that an inclusive political process is critical to achieving a durable peace in Mali. Canada is supporting the implementation of all four pillars of the Algiers Accord: political reform; defence and security sector reform; development; and reconciliation, justice and humanitarian affairs. Canada is providing this support through financing and deployments within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as well as through civil society partners, to build local and regional capacities in order to increase meaningful participation in peace.

Canada’s engagement in peace operations

Canada made a clear commitment to renew its engagement in the full spectrum of multilateral peace operations. Canada’s approach to peace operations is about doing things differently. Canada aims to contribute to a transformation of peace support operations through the implementation of ambitious initiatives to promote women’s representation and meaningful participation in conflict prevention and resolution. For more information, please consult the website of the Elsie Initiative for the participation of women in peacekeeping operations. Through the Vancouver Principles on peacekeeping and the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, Canada works to improve the fate of children in situations of armed conflict. To achieve this, Canada prioritizes, as part of peacekeeping operations, the protection of children as one of its central tenets of the general mandate of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Peace and Stabilization Operations Program

In Mali and the Sahel, Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) has invested more than $30 million, from 2016 to 2019, in support of civil society organizations, international non-governmental organizations, Malian authorities and the United Nations. PSOPs programs in Mali are helping to advance the implementation of the Algiers Accord, promote the inclusion of women at all levels of the peace process and its implementation, support UN-led peacebuilding and stabilization efforts, and foster dialogue and understanding among conflict-affected communities, particularly supporting women and youth as agents of peaceful change. For more information consult the Project Browser.

Operation PRESENCE

The Canadian Armed Forces contributions to the government’s peace operations strategy are collectively known as Operation PRESENCE. Canada has committed to providing high-value military capabilities to several United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The first of these deployments was an aviation task force deployed from August 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019 to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. The task force included two Chinook helicopters to provide urgently needed transport and logistics capacity for MINUSMA, as well as four Griffon helicopters to provide armed escort and protection. The task force operated for a year out of Gao in northern Mali, conducting 11 medical evacuations and more than 100 transport missions. Canadian helicopters accumulated more than 4,000 flying hours, transported approximately 2,800 passengers and delivered more than 370,000 pounds of cargo. This contribution provided essential support to MINUSMA in the execution of its mission, itself a key element supporting the implementation of the Algiers Accord.

With the completion of the aviation task force’s deployment, Canada is maintaining multiple contributions in support of the UN mission in Mali, including up to 10 Canadian Armed Forces members, civilian police officers and financial support, with the aim of facilitating the implementation of the Algiers Accord.

Canadian Police Arrangement

Since January 2019, Canada has been deploying police officers to Mali in support of the implementation of Mali’s Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and reform of Mali’s security services. Canadian police officers are serving with MINUSMA and the European Union’s civilian capacity-building program, EUCAP Sahel Mali. Canadian police are providing advice and leadership on issues such as community policing, human rights and gender equality.

Canadian police are deployed to international peace and stabilization operations through the Canadian Police Arrangement, a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Safety Canada.

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