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Sunday, February 25, 2024


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Mali: The State Must Respond to Legitimate Concerns

By Baba Dakono

As part of’s commitment to peace, transparency, and justice in the Sahel region, over the past two years our team has worked with researcher Baba Dakono on a study that takes an in-depth look at the factors behind Mali’s security crisis.

You can download the full report, titled “The State Must Respond to Legitimate Concerns” here:

The rising violence and evolution of the crisis in Mali highlight the many security, logistical and humanitarian difficulties faced by those who search for solutions, and provide context for the population’s low levels of confidence in the state and the peace process. The factors on which the crisis in Mali has thrived are multiple and complex: they are linked to the activities of isolated armed groups, movements that signed the peace agreement, and criminal networks, and have distorted inter- and intra-community ties. Finally, in many localities in the north and center of the country, communities, have armed themselves because they judge the institutional responses ineffective, leading to unprecedented violence in the country.

On the basis of our analysis, a few recommendations emerged:

•           Help the state find a credible governance model and focus on greater involvement of the population in the management of public affairs. The current rule of the game of representation leads, to some extent, to the appointment of elected officials who do not represent. Appropriate means must be found to ensure that the opinions and perceptions of the populations are better taken into account in the decision-making process.

•           New strategies for the return of the state. The restoration of the authority of the State in such a context is important, but it should not be envisaged in a framework of territorial occupation of the country. Long before the crisis, the presence of the state was perceived by many communities as a predatory presence that, without meeting the basic needs of the communities, exacerbated the cleavages within and between them.

•           Acting locally in the face of regional issues. All partners’ strategies recognize the transnational and regional nature of security and development issues in the Sahel. However, taking this into account in the formulation and implementation of humanitarian assistance or development programs and projects is complex.

•           Encourage programs to improve justice and end the cycle of impunity. The ills of governance that caused or exacerbated the crises are primarily focused on justice issues. Improving governance undoubtedly requires improving the justice sector.

•           Supporting mediation processes with concrete actions. For many interlocutors met during the analysis period, the agreements signed in the framework of conflict resolution are short-term solutions.

•           Addressing issues of underdevelopment and securing infrastructure. During the study, it emerged that there is very little infrastructure linking the South to the North of the country. In addition, road infrastructure is dilapidated in places and non-existent in much of the north. There are no roads connecting the South to the North of the country.

•           Promote youth employment in conflict areas (creation of income-generating activities). The issue of the creation of income-generating activities came up in all the discussions. In Mopti, many interlocutors felt that the city was the economic lung of the region, with agro-pastoral activities and tourism. Since the crisis, all the economic activities that revolved around tourism have been reduced to nothing, resulting in many young people joining criminal networks. Armed groups take advantage of those left behind by the state.

The report is accompanied by our documentary film:

“The Forgotten Ones” follows Sory Kondo, a young Malian journalist working for the news website Told he cannot to reach his village in the Mopti region of Mali because it is currently occupied by jihadists, he sets out to get as close to home as possible. It is directed by Ousmane Samassékou