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Strategic Objectives for Denmark's Partnership with Mali

Strategic objective 1 – Peaceful Co-existence, Stability and Security
Mali’s stability and ability to protect its people from conflict and shocks as well as its populations’ resilience is vital and a first condition for efforts to reduce poverty, strengthen democratic transition, and pave the way for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

A strategic objective for Denmark is to support peaceful co-existence and increase stability and security. The objective reflects that the current conflict in northern Mali needs to be contained. Also the spread of radicalization, as well as criminal and violent extremist groups should be countered. The (humanitarian) impact of a potential spread to neighbouring countries could be disastrous for the region and with significant spill-over effects to Europe. Mali’s national policy framework and the Algiers Peace Agreement provide opportunities to address many of the underlying causes behind Mali’s multidimensional challenges. The objective is in keeping with Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and Goal 16 (Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies) of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
A secure, stable and peaceful Mali will require a concerted effort from the Malian government as well as the international community. Denmark will cooperate with like-minded partners to keep Mali high on the international agenda and in furthering the peace process. Key international partners will be the EU on maintaining focus on political reforms, MINUSMA, France whose Barkhane mission will be critical to countering violent extremism, the EU’s military and civil security sector training missions EUTM Mali and the EUCAP Sahel Mali, and the African Union, the regional organization G5 and other like-minded partners.

Denmark will capitalize on its experiences with the integrated stabilisation approach, its contribution to MINUSMA and the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission, and the perception of Denmark as a country committed to and capable of facilitating broad-based cooperation across the domains of policy, security, humanitarian assistance, and longer term development efforts. In keeping with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Denmark will continue to give priority to addressing violence against women and support women’s role in building peace. In addition, a greater linkage between humanitarian assistance and development cooperation will be essential in order to achieve a greater degree of resilience as well as to create durable solutions for vulnerable groups to sustain a dignified life. 

Strategic objective 2 - Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Economic inequalities and political exclusion have been behind historical resentments against the state, especially among northern communities. A legitimate state must be based on democratic values, transparency, rule of law and inclusion. Democratic governance holds the promise of containing Mali’s internal conflict potential, managing fragmentation tendencies and neutralising socio-economic conflicts of interest.

A strategic objective for Denmark is to strengthen democratic and inclusive governance and increase the number of mechanisms through which the Malian people can participate in governance and hold their government - local as well as national - to account. Shortcomings of democratisation and decentralisation are key causes for the failure of previous peace agreements. Participation in and control by democratic actors of the state’s commitment to development and poverty reduction efforts will be key to increasing the legitimacy of the state and to laying the foundation for a more stable Mali. The objective is in keeping with Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), and Goal 16 (Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies) of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In particular the low level of participation in democratic processes is a key concern and an obstacle to Mali’s further democratic transition. Although the laws and system allow greater involvement of citizens, the incentives to participate in decentralised governance have not yet materialised. The Algiers Peace Agreement with its broad-based backing provides a strong mandate and a new opportunity for improving the representativeness and functioning of Mali’s democratic processes and state institutions.

Strengthening democratic governance requires a concerted effort from Mali’s government, civil society and its international development partners, including the EU, Germany and Belgium as key partners supporting Mali’s decentralisation process. Denmark will build on its experience from working at national level with the government and the National Assembly as well as experiences from strengthening decentralised public service delivery mechanisms and civil society’s ability to participate and facilitate greater accountability.

Strategic objective 3 – Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth
Acknowledging the security-development nexus, improvements in peace and security will only be maintained if followed by inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The large youth population needs to be recognised as a resource and their resilience to crime, violent extremism or migration needs to be strengthened by offering them better alternatives. Likewise, reintegration of internally and externally displaced people in the Malian economy is crucial.

A strategic objective for Denmark is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. This objective reflects Mali’s need for a longer period of inclusive and sustained economic growth in order to effectively address key challenges such as the rapidly rising unemployment, growing socio-political discontent, and the financing of national development plans. The objective is in keeping with Goal 1(End poverty in all its forms everywhere), Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), Goal 8 (Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all) of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The Malian private sector must play a key role in achieving this objective. Not only as a source of income and employment; but also in facilitating a diversification of the economy; reducing the dependence on rain-fed agriculture and volatile gold and cotton prices, and providing the tax base. The Malian government will have to provide coherent policies and an enabling environment that support productive activities and the creation of decent jobs, while ensuring that economic growth is pursued in a manner that it does not compromise the opportunities of future generations. Denmark will build on previous experience in supporting Malian private sector development with a value chain approach.

Despite difficult market conditions, important opportunities exist and Danish companies may show a greater interest in investing and working in Mali in the future. Based on demand, Denmark will promote and support activities of Danish companies in Mali as well as Danish-Malian economic activities through economic diplomacy and development cooperation.