In Mali, Switzerland is active in fighting poverty and establishing a lasting peace. It supports rural development and food security, good governance and the peace process, and basic education and vocational education and training. This support is implemented through its three foreign policy instruments: development cooperation, peace policy and humanitarian aid. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation focuses its activities on the regions of Sikasso in the south, Mopti in the centre and Timbuktu in the north of Mali.

Map of Mali
© FDFA

The democratic elections that took place 2013 after the previous year's crisis marked a return to constitutional order and paved the way for the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement in June 2015. Although the conflict has ended, insecurity continues to be a threat and the country faces numerous challenges related to peace, governance, education, youth employment and the fight against poverty. Yet despite these many challenges, Mali has demonstrated remarkable resilience. The country has a strong agro-pastoral potential that can be further leveraged, its growth rate in 2015 was 5%, and 65% of its population is under 25 years old.

Rural development and food security

Better production thanks to new infrastructure

People living in rural areas account for over two thirds Mali's population and about one third of its GDP. The SDC supports the building of infrastructures that increase agricultural productivity and incomes:

  • Hydro-agricultural improvements
  • Lakeside protective dykes
  • Roads linking cities and rural areas
  • Livestock parks

This type of project aims to promote economic growth in rural communes.  Since 2012, 83 rural development projects have successfully promoted economic growth in rural communes, resulting in a 17% increase in farm income in 2015.

Agriculture and food security 

Basic education and vocational skills development

Programmes adapted to social challenges

Rates of access to basic education remain very low in Mali. About one million Malian children between the ages of 7 and 12 do not attend school, and half of those enrolled in primary school are forced to drop out. The SDC's educational efforts are focused on improving the quality of education and providing support for the decentralised management of education. To address the crisis in education, the SDC also promotes alternative forms of inclusive education (50 mobile schools, 250 educational centres with fast-track programmes and vocational training for students from Koranic schools). 

The low level of qualification of the workforce is also an obstacle to development.  To address this problem, the SDC is helping to set up training programmes designed to meet the needs of the labour market in urban and peri-urban areas.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Good governance and peace

Empowering local institutions

Participation of citizens and various social groups in political processes and the accountability of elected officials to voters are key SDC objectives in Mali. The SDC therefore supports citizenship programmes to allow ordinary people to have a voice in public affairs.

The SDC helps strengthen the administrative and financial management capacities of local elected representatives.  It supports the transfer of resources to the regions and the mobilisation of resources managed by local authorities (25% increase in tax revenue in 2015). Switzerland also assists in the country’s efforts to promote national reconciliation, and carries out activities to protect civilians (promotion of international humanitarian law).

Advocacy and good governance 

Humanitarian aid and the promotion of peace and human security

Meeting the needs of displaced populations

Switzerland is helping to meet the need for humanitarian protection and assistance of particularly vulnerable people who had to flee the conflict in northern Mali: internally displaced persons (39,000 in 2016) and host populations, as well as refugees in neighbouring countries (134,000 at the beginning of 2016). Switzerland is also helping the Malian government define and implement the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy for the most vulnerable.

In response to the crisis in Mali, the FDFA’s Human Security Division is promoting the peace dialogue and Swiss Humanitarian Aid is funding partners on the ground, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Disaster Risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection 

Approach and partners

Switzerland supports Mali through the concurrent and coordinated provision of humanitarian aid and development aid and the promotion of peace and human rights. It operates at both national and local levels and works closely with the government departments and local authorities concerned.  Its main partners are the following:

  • Swiss partners: Helvetas-Swiss Intercooperation, Swisscontact
  • Malian partners: ministries, the Food Security Commissariat, regional authorities, inter-community and territorial authorities, socio-professional organisations, Centre international d’expertises et de formation (CIEF), Formation Sans Frontières, the Malian Red Cross, Kéné Conseils.
  • Bilateral and multilateral partners: Danish Cooperation, LuxDev, Danish Refugee Council, World Bank, ICRC, UNHCR, WFP, OCHA, UNICEF, FAO, OXFAM, UNESCO, UNHAS (humanitarian air service)

Current projects

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Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.05.2017 - 30.06.2022

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré depuis plus de 20 ans, le Mali fait face à des crises alimentaires récurrentes qui touchent près du quart de la population. La Suisse soutient le Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire par la combinaison des instruments de l’aide humanitaire et de développement en vue de gérer les crises alimentaires et renforcer la résilience des populations vulnérables. Cet appui contribuera à la stabilité du pays et de la sous-région et a le potentiel de réduire la migration forcée.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Programme de développement social en milieu urbain (PDSU)Programme de développement économique local et de sécurité alimentaire à Koutiala

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Le Programme Sigida Kura a permis d’améliorer les capacités de planification et de gestion des 37  collectivités territoriales du cercle de Koutiala qui ont réalisé des infrastructures permettant d’améliorer  la sécurité alimentaire dans le cercle, d’augmenter les revenus des producteurs et de créer plus de 230 emplois permanents. Avec cette dernière phase, la DDC poursuit son accompagnement aux collectivités territoriales qui mettent en place un cadre durable de leur développement économique local.


Programme d’Appui à l’Education non formelle

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

Classé 22ème sur 28 pays par l’indice de l’éducation pour tous au niveau africain, le Mali compte plus de 60% d’adultes analphabètes dont les 2/3 sont des femmes et environ 70% des jeunes de 15 à 24 ans ne savent ni lire, ni écrire, selon l’UNESCO. Ce programme permet de former et d’insérer plus de 10'000  jeunes et des adultes. Les résultats des nouvelles approches pédagogiques obtenus par le programme sont partagés au niveau central en vue de leur mise à l’échelle.


Programme d’Appui au Secteur de l’Elevage au Mali – PASEM

01.12.2014 - 31.05.2021

Malgré son importance dans l’économie, l’environnement et les sociétés (agro)pastorales, l’élevage rencontre plusieurs contraintes dont la faible productivité, l’insécurité foncière, la faible organisation des acteurs et une forme de marginalisation sociale des éleveurs. La DDC souhaite valoriser les immenses potentialités de l’élevage en renforçant l’approche chaine de valeurs orientée vers le développement des marchés et des acteurs du secteur privé, favorisant la prise en compte des pauvres, des femmes et des jeunes.


JPO Programme, Volées 2013-2018, Humanitarian Aid HA

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

The aim of the programme is to increase Switzerland's presence within the UN system. This measure also meets the more general aim of strengthening the influence and quality of Switzerland's political dialogue with the target agencies. The JPO programme will eventually serve to intensify this political dialogue and increase Switzerland's capacity to monitor the work of agencies through direct contact with the JPOs recruited through this programme.


Programme d’Appui aux Filières Agropastorales de Sikasso – PAFA

01.06.2013 - 30.09.2020

La DDC soutient le Conseil Régional de Sikasso et les partenaires privés locaux dans l’amélioration des conditions cadres pour le développement des filières pomme de terre et lait. Les appuis apportés contribueront à une meilleure organisation des différents segments de ces filières, de la production au marché et à la valorisation locale des produits au profit des petits producteurs et transformateurs. A terme, plus de 360'000 personnes assureront leur sécurité alimentaire et réduiront leur pauvreté.

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