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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.