A new report funded by the European Union, commissioned by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and developed by Red Mangrove Development Advisors has revealed that the Malian diaspora is keen to invest in the development of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), especially to develop the agriculture sector, if they can access the right training, information and financial products.
The study was presented at an event held in Paris on the October 28, 2022; and organized by The Coordination of French elected officials of Malian origin (CEFOM) – one of the most important actors in the France-Mali cooperation, to raise awareness of such investments among French development aid actors and diaspora leaders, and highlight new forms of diaspora engagement for peacekeeping and development in these troubled times.
As food systems are shaken to the core by the global food crisis, low-income countries like Mali realize that years of underinvestment in the development of their agriculture sector and rural areas are not only jeopardizing food security but their entire national security. High dependence on food imports is pushing people into hunger and poverty, while leading to serious social unrest, displacement, and political instability.
Investments in agriculture can prevent these effects as the primary sector is a proven engine to economic growth and development. In sub-Saharan Africa, growth in agriculture reduces poverty up to 11 times faster than growth in other sectors, according to IFAD.
The European Union is therefore supporting, by means of a 1-million EUR grant, with IFAD implementing the creation of pilot investment vehicles that provide secure ground and information to harness the potential and appetite of the Malian diaspora to invest in the agriculture sector of their country of origin.
The study also showed that there are four million Malians living abroad; Europe hosts 250,000 Malians, of which more than half live in France. The diaspora is a vital source of revenue for the country: last year, people from Mali living abroad transferred USD 973 million back to the country, equivalent to five per cent of Mali’s GDP.
In addition to sending remittances to their relatives, which are mostly geared toward making ends meet, members of the Malian diaspora have historically been involved in social and economic development through various diaspora organizations.
The research included 90 organizations and 210 individuals based in France, Spain and Italy, the European countries with the largest Malian communities.
The findings of the study recommend providing the diaspora with information on promising investment solutions and sectors, as well as specific training on investment and business creation, and developing attractive investment solutions and supervising and securing their investments from a regulatory point of view.
Read the full Press Release HERE.
Edited by: Theresa R. Fianko
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