News / Economy

Malians: New Government Must Jumpstart Economy

Malians: New Government Must Jumpstart Economyi
X
August 15, 2013 4:51 PM
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita became Mali's president-elect after his rival conceded defeat in the August 11th run-off. The successful vote means that billions of dollars of pledged international aid should soon be on their way to help rebuild the country. In 2012, the economy hit its first slump in two decades after a military coup and Islamist takeover of the north plunged the country into crisis. VOA's Anne Look has this report from Bamako, where business owners say the new government can not get to work fast enough.
Anne Look
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita became Mali's president-elect after his rival conceded defeat in the August 11 run-off. The successful vote means that billions of dollars of pledged international aid should soon be on their way to help rebuild the country. In 2012, the economy hit its first slump in two decades after a military coup and Islamist takeover of the north plunged the country into crisis.

Mali election resultsMali election results
x
Mali election results
Mali election results
Business owners in capital city Bamako say the new government can not get to work fast enough.

The Kone family imports and sells cement. It's a family business: father and son, husband and wife. The son, Souleymane Kone, said the March 2012 military coup cut business in half almost immediately.

"The investors pulled out. So all the big construction jobs were halted," he said. "And on the local level, those with money are not spending it."

His father, Abdoul Kader, said things are looking up.

"Work is going to start again and things will get better," he said. "I am so happy that despite the crisis, the election went well and the candidates kept the tension down."

Mali's economy had been on a slow but steady ascent since the 1990s. It declined for the first time in 2012 - a contraction of 1.2 percent.

That wasn't as bad as it could have been. The gold and cotton sectors in the south were relatively untouched, but tourism took a major hit. And the occupation of the north hurt trade and agriculture, heightening chronic food shortages. Farming, fishing and forestry are nearly half of Mali's gross domestic product.

Economist Younoussa Maiga said an influx of foreign aid will help, but this new government also must attract investors. And to do that, it must tackle pervasive corruption.

"This corruption, it's government agents embezzling state resources. It's small-time - you've got traffic police taking a few dollars from drivers all day long. It's people being forced to pay for free public services.  There's large-scale organized corruption when it comes to awarding government contracts and the whole process of spending state funds," Maiga said. "All of this forces business owners to pay when they shouldn't have to."

For now, shopowners around Bamako, like Adama Mariko, say they are just trying to hang on.

"I'm here the whole day and I sell nothing," Mariko said.

Still, the shelves of the electronics shop are mostly empty.

"No one outside the country would give credit to Malian merchants because with the war and the rebellion, nobody knew we'd be there to repay. And you can't do business without credit," said Mariko.
 
Job creation is a major priority. Work is scarce for the 300,000 young people who hit the job market every year. Economists say presidents don't create jobs, though, investment and economic growth do.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8845
JPY
USD
117.71
GBP
USD
0.6643
CAD
USD
1.2669
INR
USD
62.019

Rates may not be current.