A meeting with the Malians of the diaspora who settle, invest and realize themselves

In Mali, migration is a very old practice. The number of Malians living abroad is estimated at more than 4 million, including nearly 120 thousand in France. While some are forced to leave the host country because of the tightening of migration policy, others have chosen to return to settle on their own account.

Two years ago, Youssouf Mangara decided to return after a decade spent in France. « I think that there are more opportunities for young people in spite of the problems we have had recently with the coup d’Etat, the political problems and the insecurity. We said to ourselves that there is a real boon for young people, especially those who have had the opportunity to travel the world and have experience, to come back home to invest and help Mali to move forward », says the 32-year-old entrepreneur.

A lawyer by training, Youssouf Mangara is a jack-of-all-trades. « I do not restrict myself to one sector. Initially I did small activities », he continues. Today, he and his partner have opened a communication agency where they do audiovisual production, production of artists, designs, printing, decoration.

Investing in Mali has also been Amadou Diawara’s decision, who is active in the new technologies sector. « I tell myself that everything has to be re-done again in the country despite the security instability. It is saturated in Europe, things are happening here, we hope that will make a living here », declares this thirty-year-old. Starting with two people, his company currently employs 50 people.

According to Amadou Diawara, the new technologies field in Mali is promising but it is not organized. His ambition is not only to conquer Africa but also to launch other projects such as the establishment of a production and assembly unit for office furniture.

The search for employment and « the desire to discover Mali in a different way than during the holidays » led Countel Kane to settle in Mali in 2014.

« The first motivation was to be able to find a job. In France, I did not have a stable situation. In Mali, job search is a bit complicated. There are a lot of networks, you have to call people and I was against that », she says.

She adds: « One day, I came across an offer from the ANPE (National Agency for the Promotion of Employment, ed.). I applied for it and passed the interview phase. I was finally retained. For once, it is the traditional methods of job search that have worked for me », says this Franco-Malian, program manager in a foundation in Bamako.

Since 2004, there is a ministry in charge of Malians abroad whose mission is to « promote and protect Malians living abroad ». According to Dr. Broulaye Keita, technical advisor at the Ministry of Malians abroad, the State has initiated several programs to support the Malians of the diaspora. The most recent is the launch on March 21, of a 1 billion project to support mainly the initiatives of young people from the diaspora, stresses the technical advisor.

To encourage Malian investors to settle « thousands of compatriots have benefited from exemptions on customs duties », says Dr. Keita.

According to him, in 2015, the statistics of the BCEAO totaled 471 billion, the contribution of the Malian diaspora. In addition to transfers that are informally made.

In the higher education field, the Tokten program « transfer of knowledge by national expatriates » has been set up by the government and its partners to enable Malian scholars in western countries to be able to teach during short stays, in the different faculties of Mali.

Given the importance of the migration issue, the State has developed the national migration policy to better manage migration so that it would be an asset for Mali, specifies the technical advisor at the Ministry of Malians abroad.

Today, the authorities are considering the creation of a bank of Malians abroad facilitate trade.

According to Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, director of Mali’s Political, Economic and Social Analysis Research Center, « the creation of this bank will allow the diaspora to escape a little bit the costs of transferring funds to a lesser extent but especially in terms of channeling all aid from abroad, and at this point we could target specific sectors with the creation of that bank to see which sectors are promising for the diaspora ».

Sory Kondo
PARTAGER