EU resumes aid to Mali, halted over suspected irregularities


The European Union has resumed aid to Mali which it suspended in June due to suspected irregularities in government spending, including the purchase of a $40 million (25 million pounds) presidential jet, the Malian government announced on Friday.

The International Monetary Fund had questioned the way the government acquired the plane and a $200 million state guarantee for a loan obtained by a private company which won a contract to provide supplies for the army.

The IMF halted its support for the West African country. Other international donors, including France and the EU, which have pledged around $4 billion to back Mali’s recovery from a coup and an al-Qaeda linked occupation in the north, also suspended their assistance.

The IMF said this month, however, Malian authorities had complied with a requirement to make public the results of audits into the suspected irregularities.
“I confirm the receipt … of the sum of 62,241,680,110 CFA francs (74.4 million pounds),” stated a communique read on state-owned radio which quoted Finance Minister BouarĂ© Fily Sissoko’s correspondence with the EU delegation in Mali.

Other donors are expected to follow suit.

The IMF has said Mali faces risks from its unstable security situation and an Ebola epidemic that has crippled the economies of West African neighbours Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the disease has killed more than 6,000 people.

Mali has recorded a handful of Ebola cases, but the health ministry said on Thursday that its last infected patient had recovered.

The IMF predicts Mali’s economy should expand 5.8 percent this year and 5.5 percent in 2015, provided Ebola does not spread.