BRUSSELS, BELGIUM--(Marketwired - May 15, 2013) - As a leading donor, Canada will continue to provide food and basic health services to the people of Mali. Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, reaffirmed Canada's support for the people of Mali at an international donors' conference in Brussels, Belgium.
"As a leading donor, Canada is working to ensure that basic needs of the people of Mali are addressed," said PS Brown. "Once again, Canada has demonstrated during this conference that we remain focused on helping Malians build upon stronger ground."
Canada took part in this important conference to help mobilize the support necessary to address Mali's substantial development challenges. PS Brown announced new investments with a focus on mitigating the risk of social unrest and continuing to provide basic services in health, food security, nutrition and education. These new investments support Mali's Sustainable Recovery Plan for 2013-2014.
"Canada is a compassionate neighbour," said Minister Fantino. "Canada will continue to work with other donors, Canadian non-governmental organizations and multilateral organizations, such as the World Food Programme, to provide stability to the people of Mali."
Today's pledge builds on Canada's announcement earlier this week of $10 million to:
- support the African-led International Support Mission until a new United Nations mission can be set up;
- help restore democratic institutions in advance of planned elections in July and preserve Mali's territorial integrity; and
- help the European Union-led training to help the Malian armed forces protect the basic rights of Malian civilians.
Canada is committed to helping countries like Mali. Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to international development and humanitarian assistance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will help achieve greater efficiency, accountability and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.
CANADA SUPPORTS INITIATIVES TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF MALI
This $75 million announcement focuses on food security, nutrition, immunization, and access to basic health and educational services. This focus puts Canada on the front lines of efforts to assist the people of Mali during a critical period in their country's history.
Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, announced the following investment at the international donors' conference on Mali in Belgium:
- $20 million to reduce acute malnutrition, to support immunization and, to improve healthcare for children at the community level through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF);
- $20 million to improve the health of 455,000 people in the most vulnerable communities in southern Mali by improving water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities and practices in 300 schools and 650 surrounding communities through UNICEF;
- $15 million to reduce malnutrition of children as well as pregnant and nursing women in targeted regions of southern Mali with the World Food Programme;
- $15 million to improve the food security of 250,000 men and women in targeted regions of Mali with the World Food Programme;
- $5 million to improve learning conditions for Malian children, by rapidly providing textbooks to primary schools in southern Mali with UNICEF.
This support is critical to ensuring stability in southern Mali, the part of the country where the vast majority of the people live. Projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving the health of women and children in Mali have achieved considerable success over the years.
Humanitarian Situation in Mali
The humanitarian situation in Mali continues to raise concern. Humanitarian agencies report that the food and nutrition crisis has left as many as 2 million Malians food-insecure, and that an estimated 475,000 have been displaced by the conflict, including more than 300,000 within Mali, and approximately another 175,000 who sought refuge in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. New and continued displacement is creating pressure on already strained local resources, and adding to pre-existing social, economic and political tensions.
Canadian Support for Mali
Canada has been recognized as a leading donor in Mali. According to the latest available information from the OECD-DAC, in 2010-2011, Canada was the second largest bilateral donor and the fourth largest donor overall.
In January 2013, Minister Fantino announced that Canada would invest $13 million to help improve food security, reduce malnutrition, address emergency healthcare and provide much needed humanitarian assistance. CIDA disbursed over $107 million in development and humanitarian assistance in Mali during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Although it remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, Mali had been making significant progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in recent years. With the help of Canada and other international partners, Mali was able to reduce its poverty rate from 55.6 percent in 2001 to 43.6 percent in 2010; to increase its primary education completion rate from 55.7 percent in 2008-2009 to 58.3 percent in 2010-2011; and,to achieve remarkable improvements in its percentage of fully immunized infants under one year old, which increased from 69 percent in 2007 to 92 percent in 2010, surpassing the target of 90 percent.
The following are a few examples of the improvements Canada helped achieve in Mali:
- As part of its focus on Mali's health sector, CIDA helped to increase the rate of prenatal consultation in Mali from 48 to 79 percent between 2003 and 2010. CIDA has helped to save the lives of countless mothers and their newborns.
- In 2012, in response to Mali's food security crisis, CIDA facilitated the purchase and distribution of fertiliser to smallholder farmers. This effort allowed the fertilization of over 21,600 hectares, securing the production of more than 110,000 tons of rice, which corresponds to the annual needs of more than 1,350,900 people.
- When the Government of Mali decided to create an independent monitoring institution to combat corruption and mismanagement of public spending, it turned to Canada. Over the years, the Auditor General of Canada and the Auditor General of Mali have developed a strong partnership. Even though Canada had to suspend its assistance in March 2012, the Office of the Auditor General of Mali was able to continue its work and publish its annual report.