EU will give over 500 million euros to help Mali rebuild


The European Union will pledge more than half a billion euros($650 million) to help Mali rebuild after months of conflict, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

“Tomorrow we will commit 520 million euros for Mali between 2013 and 2014,” Barroso told reporters ahead of a conference of aid donors in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Malian government is seeking roughly 2 billion euros in support from the conference, which is being organized by the European Union, to help fund a 4.34 billion euro plan to keep the peace and help restore infrastructure to the country, Reuters reports.
“If we can get to 1.5-1.6 billion then I would say we are about there,” Mali’s President Dioncounda Traore told the briefing.
“Mr Barroso announced a figure, I think that’s a good start. Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, in a week or in a month, it is clear that the international community, the European Union, will inject a lot more than that.”

The former French colony in West Africa sought urgent military support from Paris in January to halt advances by Islamist rebels who had seized control of the northern two-thirds of the country.

Since the intervention, Islamist rebels have been pushed back from the main urban centers of northern Mali into the mountains and desert, but the French action has failed to stop rebels from waging a guerrilla war.

Over a year of conflict has also resulted in the exodus of tens of thousands of refugees to the surrounding countries of Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger.

France is looking to withdraw thousands of its troops and hand over security duties to a U.N. peacekeeping mission. ($1 = 0.7703 euros)