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Cablegate: Mali Holds Roundtable in Bamako for International

VZCZCXRO3173
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHBP #0575/01 1711218
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191218Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9329
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHINGTON DC 0114

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAMAKO 000575

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W AND EB
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD AORC EAID ML
SUBJECT: MALI HOLDS ROUNDTABLE IN BAMAKO FOR INTERNATIONAL
DONORS

REF: BAMAKO 493

BAMAKO 00000575 001.2 OF 002


1.(SBU) Summary: Mali held its sixth donors' conference for
international partners June 12-13 in Bamako. The conference
provided a forum for the GOM to present a series of economic
growth, poverty reduction, governance, and Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) programs and initiatives. Instead of
pledging new commitments, as the Malian government had
perhaps intended, traditional donors outlined existing
programs of USD 6.5 billion for the 2008-2012 period. The
U.S. delegation, led by the Ambassador, used the conference
to highlight the U.S. assistance package to Mali, which makes
us Mali's largest bilateral donor. Although one of the round
table's central themes was improved donor coordination and
harmonization, a noticeable failure to coordinate on the
conference's final press statement triggered some controversy
as the text jointly drafted by the Dutch and Malians was not
cleared by the Canadian, French or U.S. delegations. End
Summary.

2.(SBU) Mali's June 12-13 donor round table was co-chaired
by Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe and the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP). The round table was intended to
reinforce cooperation between Mali and the international
donor community by focusing on Mali's plans for reaching the
Millennium Development Goals and increasing growth and
reducing poverty. Over 250 individuals representing the
Malian government, bilateral and multilateral partners,
financial organizations, the private sector, and civil
society participated. The Malian Ministers of Finance;
Economy, Industry and Trade; and Agriculture all played
prominent roles. International donors, which had agreed to
cap representation at the Chief of Mission level in order to
manage expectations for the conference, were generally
represented by local Ambassadors or agency heads (reftel).
China, Japan and several Arab and Islamic development
organizations attended, as well as Turkey (which pledged USD
100,000) and Egypt (which expressed interest in technical
exchange programs). The U.S. delegation was led by the
Ambassador with assistance from the USAID and the MCC
directors.

3.(U) Prime Minister Sidibe opened the conference with a
comprehensive speech outlining the economic and social
progress Mali has made despite exogenous shocks and continued
instability in Mali's northern regions. He noted that Mali's
economy continues to grow at an average of 5 percent
annually, that school attendance is rising, access to water
is increasing, and infrastructure developments expanding.
The Minister presented Mali's plans for economic growth,
poverty reduction, good governance, and its 10 year strategy
for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

4.(U) There was little in the way of new commitments, apart
from the Turkish delegation, as donor contributions and
engagement in Mali are already significant. Existing funding
for Mali totals USD 5.3 billion for 2008-2011 and USD 1.2
billion for 2012. A joint commission will review the
implementation of these engagements as well Mali's Strategic
Framework for Growth and Poverty Reduction (CSCRP) on an
annual basis. The Ambassador's speech highlighted U.S
support for good governance while our USAID director provided
an overview of U.S. food security programs designed to
support 166 local communes regarded as vulnerable. The USAID
director lauded the Malian government's new food security
initiatives and encouraged the government to coordinate with
on-going donor projects in affected communes. The MCC
director discussed policy reform, noting that while
significant resources are dedicated to infrastructure
improvements, the impacts of these improvements in terms of
poverty reduction depend on how they are managed. The MCC
director encouraged effective and efficient management within
the framework of public-private partnerships.

5.(SBU) As the current head of the donors' coordination
group in Mali, the Dutch delegation played a central role
during the conference and jointly drafted the round table's
final press statement with the Malians. Unfortunately, they
drafted the text without consulting with the French or U.S.
delegations. The Canadian delegation, which participated to
some extent in the drafting process, objected that some of
their concerns were not reflected in the final document.
When the statement was read to conference participants, the
French Ambassador said it was difficult to react not having
seen the document beforehand, while the Canadian Ambassador
said Canada was not in complete agreement with the text. The
Dutch delegation apologized but indicated that it believed

BAMAKO 00000575 002.2 OF 002


that, as head of the donors' coordination group, it had the
authority to negotiate with the Malian government on behalf
of the entire donor community. At this point, Prime Minister
Sidibe said he thought the document was a "close enough
reflection of the discussions" and that the GOM and donors
could move ahead.

6.(SBU) COMMENT: The donor round table was generally
well-prepared and well-managed. The Minister of Finance and
the new Minister of Economy stood out as particularly
eloquent (and less defensive than other Ministers). The
Minister for the Promotion of Women, Children and Families
also gave a well-received presentation. One source of
friction between the donors and the Malian government is the
slow pace of reform and the donor community urged the Malians
to implement key reforms in the economic, social and
political spheres. Reaction to the round table's final press
statement reflected the challenges of increased donor
coordination in Mali. Although the round table did not
produce any new developments, it provided a useful accounting
of ongoing international support to Mali.
MCCULLEY

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