The Sahel is a focus region for the Dutch government. The socio-economic starting point in Mali is challenging. Due to rising levels of violent incidents, state officials and public services are absent from many rural parts of Mali, especially in the North and Centre. The absence of state institutions, combined with criminality and impunity, has reduced citizens’ trust in the state. In this context, people have come to rely on non-state actors for a minimal level of services. Jihadist groups have gained influence, especially on youths who lack economic prospects. Climate change and demographic trends worsen these risks.
Unlocking the region’s youth potential is a priority. A large labour-productive population with improved access to skills, justice, food security, employment and (sexual) health services offers great development potential in the long run. The Netherlands assists the Malian government in providing basic services and security for its people.
Even though the situation deteriorated in the intervention areas of Ségou, Mopti, Tombouctou and Gao, Dutch development programmes registered tangible results for the Malian people. Due to the long-standing presence of Dutch implementing partners in the field and their good relations with the population, activities largely continued and new ones were developed.
With many international actors present in the Sahel, the Netherlands works on better co-ordination and co-operation with the international community.