Denmark’s current country strategy for Mali dates from 2016. A new country strategy is expected to be approved in 2021, and a new bilateral country programme is under development (2022-27). The Danish support to Mali has been provided in three areas: military assistance (MINUSMA and operation Barkhane), humanitarian interventions, and the country programme covering: 1) peaceful coexistence, 2) support to governance and decentralisation, 3) support to economic development and the private sector.

In the context of the unfolding complex political, and potentially deadly security situation in Mali that affects three quarters of the territory, a military coup took place against the transitional government in August 2020 (installed to prepare for democratic elections in 2022). To this can be added a deepening socio-economic crisis, an unchecked population growth, serious climate change impacts as well as very weak economic growth and very low level of job creation. The Embassy of Denmark in Mali has commissioned a study analysing how Denmark can support certain actions in this adverse context during the transition process, including decentralisation; and to analyse and reflect on future actions for the new country strategy 2022-2027.

Denmark has supported the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (MATD) in strengthening inclusive democratic governance as part of the decentralisation support programme. However, due to the general instability in the country, implementation of activities has been halted. 

The overall purposes of the study are i) exploring how Denmark could support certain interventions relevant to the transition period, based on the lessons learned so far; ii) to conduct and analysis contributing to reflexions on feasible interventions under the new country strategies 2022-2027. The study will take two scenarios into consideration: i) the transition period successfully leading to elections, ii) the failure of or protraction of the process.

The contextual study will consider the context of the decentralisation and legislative reforms, the aspect of “good governance” in decentralisation, which approaches, actors, and types of support might relevant to support or implement, constraints and possibilities  for such support to the MATD, further options to strengthen local democracy, explore the links to corruption and impunity, take into account human rights, inclusion of women, protection, youth and vulnerable groups; finally, what are Denmark’s prospects for interventions in the short-term (transition period) and in the medium-term (2022-2027).

The final study report with recommendations and options was conducted by national expert Amagoine Keita, Mali, and submitted to the Danish Embassy in Mali by NCG in April 2021.