Mali military administration, Wagner mercenaries reason for decision, says reports
France halted development assistance to Mali on Thursday, citing the presence of Wagner mercenaries from Russia, according to French media reports and Foreign Ministry officials.
Humanitarian aid to Mali and support for select non-governmental groups will be maintained, said reports.
Media reports said the decision was made two to three weeks ago and several non-governmental organizations submitted a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron objecting to the decision.
France donated €473 million ($490 million) in aid to Mali through the French Development Agency (AFD) between 2013 and 2017, according to information on the website of the French Embassy in Bamako.
Mali is 186 on the UNs’ 2021 Human Development Index and acknowledged it needs assistance with about 40% of its population of 20 million in need.
The country has been the target of terror organizations linked to al-Qaeda and Daesh since 2011 and has had five military coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
Despite efforts to maintain relations with France during military governments, the two countries grew apart following coups in 2020 and 2021.