Mali and France enjoy close relations of confidence, not only for historical and cultural reasons but also because of the large Malian diaspora in France. Political relations have intensified in recent years, and there have been numerous bilateral visits since 2013.
Mali hosted the 27th Africa-France Summit in January 2017, attended by 32 Heads of State and Government.
The French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron, visited Mali on 19 May 2017 to meet with his counterpart and soldiers from the Barkhane forces. He again visited Mali on 2 July 2017 for the Extraordinary Summit of the G5 Sahel Heads of State, accompanied by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly.
President Keïta made a State visit to France from 20 to 22 October 2015, and has made a number of other visits since taking office. On 31 October 2017, President Keïta was received at the Élysée Palace by his French counterpart, Mr Emmanuel Macron. He also met with President Macron in the company of the other G5 Heads of State in Abidjan on 29 November 2017, at La Celle-Saint-Cloud on 13 December, and in Nouakchott on 2 July 2018. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, attended the festivities for President Keïta’s inauguration on 22 September 2018, on the Malian national holiday. The Malian President also visited France in November 2018 for the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe visited Bamako in late February 2019.
Sixteen French companies are present in Mali, including subsidiaries of BNP Paribas, Total and Laborex. Mali receives 3.3% of French exports to the Africa and Indian Ocean region. France is the country’s second-largest supplier, ahead of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.
Mali is one of the 19 priority countries for French development policy. In October 2015, during the OECD donors’ conference, €360 million of French commitments was announced for 2015-2017, including almost €80 million for the northern regions.
France is Mali’s leading bilateral donor. It has gone beyond the promises made during the Brussels conference, with €221 million of projects in 2013-2014 (budgetary assistance, support for the private sector, health care, local development).
French activities are focused on three sectors: water and energy infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, and basic services (health care and education). In the health care field, the French contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria includes €10 million for Mali. Considerable support is also provided for the higher education and research sector, civil society and governance. Through the Sahel Alliance, Mali will benefit from a project for reconstruction and supporting the Kona region’s economy, as well as projects in two priority sectors: education and energy.
In the security field, France contributes to the European training and advisory missions (EUTM Mali for the armed forces and EUCAP Sahel Mali for internal security forces). At bilateral level, France provides Mali with military cooperation officers. It supports the Peacekeeping School (École de maintien de la paix, EMP) in Bamako and the Military Administration School (École militaire d’administration, EMA) in Koulikoro. France supports the strengthening of Mali’s armed forces, including through the creation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
Updated: February 2019