In Mali, Switzerland is active in fighting poverty and establishing a lasting peace. It supports local economic development and food security, good governance and the peace process, and basic education and vocational education and training. This support is implemented through its three foreign policy instruments: development cooperation, peace policy and humanitarian aid. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) focuses its activities on the regions of Sikasso in the south, Mopti in the centre and Timbuktu in the north of Mali.

Map of Mali

Mali's recent history has been characterised by political crises and multiple conflicts that have led to high levels of violence and insecurity in various parts of the country. Following the confrontations in northern Mali in 2012, the democratic elections in 2013 marked a return to constitutional order and paved the way for the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement in June 2015. However, discontent over the slow implementation of the agreement, a lack of political inclusion and high levels of corruption prompted a new socio-political crisis in 2020, giving rise to mass protests and culminating in the overthrow of the government.

Mali therefore continues to face numerous challenges: the high level of insecurity has an adverse impact on the country's development, the state lacks the capacity to ensure the safety of its citizens and meet their basic needs, and the young generation faces an uncertain future. The security situation has progressively deteriorated across the entire country; as a result, more than 287,000 people (58% of whom are children) have been forcibly displaced and 2.6 million people are in need of protection.

Yet despite these many challenges, Mali has a remarkable capacity for resilience; it has a strong agro-pastoral potential that should be developed, as well as tremendous human capital. Switzerland supports this potential through its various foreign policy instruments. To supplement this multisectoral approach, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport and the Federal Department of Justice and Police deploy specialist staff to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). They also support the Alioune Blondin Beye School of Peacekeeping (EMP-ABB) in Bamako.

Rural development and food security

Increased productivity and incomes

People living in rural areas account for over two thirds Mali's population and about one third of its GDP. The SDC supports initiatives that increase agricultural productivity and incomes:

  • Public-private partnerships in the food processing industry
  • Financial inclusion
  • Building the capacities of producers' organisations and inter-municipal associations
  • Supporting the national food security system
  • Hydro-agricultural improvements

This type of project aims to promote economic growth in rural communes. Switzerland is also helping the Malian government define and implement the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy for the most vulnerable.

Agriculture and food security

Basic education and vocational skills development

Programmes adapted to social challenges

Rates of access to basic education remain very low in Mali. About one million Malian children between the ages of 7 and 12 do not attend school, and half of those enrolled in primary school are forced to drop out. The security and public health crisis has exacerbated this issue, meaning that many pupils sadly missed out on more than a year of schooling. The SDC's educational efforts are focused on improving the quality of education as well as initial and continuing teacher training. In addition, the SDC provides support for the decentralised management of education. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the security crisis, the SDC also promotes education in emergency situations and alternative forms of inclusive education (development of distance learning modules, mobile schools, educational centres with fast-track programmes, training for Koranic school teachers).

The low level of qualification of the workforce is also an obstacle to development. To address this problem, the SDC is helping to set up training programmes designed to meet the needs of the labour market in urban and peri-urban areas. It is also helping to provide better guidance for young people and improve their integration into the labour market. 

Basic education and vocational skills development

Good governance and peace

Empowering local institutions (decentralisation)

Participation of citizens and various social groups in political processes and the accountability of elected officials to voters are key SDC objectives in Mali. The SDC therefore supports citizenship programmes to allow ordinary people to have a voice in public affairs.

The SDC helps strengthen the administrative and financial management capacities of local elected representatives. It supports the transfer of resources to the regions and the mobilisation of resources managed by local authorities. It also supports programmes to combat corruption and impunity. Through the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland is committed to facilitating the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement as well as promoting inclusion and supporting national reconciliation.

Meeting the needs of displaced populations

Switzerland contributes to the humanitarian response that offers protection and assistance to particularly vulnerable people who had to flee the conflict in northern Mali: internally displaced persons and host populations, as well as refugees in neighbouring countries. In response to the crisis in Mali, the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division is promoting the peace dialogue and Swiss Humanitarian Aid is funding partners on the ground, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Contributing to multilateral stabilisation efforts

Switzerland participates in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by providing civilian and military personnel. This contribution to multilateral efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement complements Switzerland's bilateral engagement.

Advocacy and good governance


Switzerland implements its programme through various partnerships with government institutions, local and international NGOs, and other bilateral and multilateral development partners. 

Current projects

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Contribution de la DDC à l’appui conjoint des PTF au Secrétariat du Groupe Exécutif de Coopération (GEC), ex Pool Technique

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2021

Le Secrétariat exécutif du Groupe Exécutif de Coopération (SEG) est un instrument commun des bailleurs de fonds dont la tâche est de soutenir leurs efforts de rendre l’aide au développement plus efficace. La contribution de la Suisse vise à rendre l’engagement des partenaires techniques et financiers (PTF) plus sensible au contexte fragile et vulnérable du Mali par une meilleure coordination, l’application d’approches de travail communes et le renforcement du dialogue politique de haut niveau.

Partenariats pour l’exercice d’une gouvernance appropriée (PEGA)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

La région comme unité administrative décentralisée assure la cohérence et coordination des politiques publiques et initie des cadres de dialogue avec les acteurs du développement économique local. La dernière phase du PEGA couvre Sikasso, Mopti et Tombouctou. Elle permet à la Suisse de soutenir la consolidation des compétences des régions en faveur d’une bonne gestion des affaires publiques et contribue ainsi à la création de perspectives économiques durables et à la stabilité du Mali.

SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 

Appui à la citoyenneté dans le cycle électoral Malien

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2023

Les élections présidentielle, législatives, régionales et locales organisées en 2018 puis en 2019 au Mali sont décisives pour la stabilité du pays et de la région. A travers le programme EMERGE de l’USAID, la Suisse contribue à la tenue d’élections crédibles, inclusives et apaisées. Elle participe à la consolidation du processus démocratique et à la prévention des conflits, avec un accent sur la participation des femmes et des jeunes aux élections. Elle contribue à la sécurité globale, dans l’intérêt direct de la Suisse.

Programme d’appui à la décentralisation de l’éducation, PADE

01.02.2018 - 31.12.2022

Dans un contexte d’insécurité, où plusieurs écoles sont fermées au centre et au nord du Mali, offrir une éducation de base de qualité, équitable et inclusive pour tous, est l’objectif du programme d’appui à la décentralisation de l’éducation. Avec les collectivités, les services techniques et les communautés des régions de Mopti, Tombouctou et Sikasso, cette dernière phase du programme vise à consolider les acquis des phases précédentes et permettre à plus de 700'000 enfants d’accéder à l’école.

Accompagnement des Organisations Paysannes et développement de systèmes de marchés durables

15.06.2017 - 31.08.2023

Confrontées à de nombreux défis liés aux effets du changement climatique, à la sécurisation foncière et à l’accès aux marchés, les exploitations familiales peinent à améliorer leurs revenus et à contribuer à la sécurité alimentaire nationale. Le programme vise à renforcer les organisations paysannes et à développer des partenariats avec le secteur privé pour accroitre l’offre des services d’appui/conseil aux exploitations familiales et ainsi contribuer au développement économique durable de 75'000 ménages.

Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.05.2017 - 31.12.2022

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré depuis plus de 20 ans, le Mali fait face à des crises alimentaires récurrentes qui touchent près du quart de la population. La Suisse soutient le Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire par la combinaison des instruments de l’aide humanitaire et de développement en vue de gérer les crises alimentaires et renforcer la résilience des populations vulnérables. Cet appui contribuera à la stabilité du pays et de la sous-région et a le potentiel de réduire la migration forcée.

Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.

Programme de développement social en milieu urbain (PDSU)Programme de développement économique local et de sécurité alimentaire à Koutiala

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2022

Le Programme Sigida Kura a permis d’améliorer les capacités de planification et de gestion des 37  collectivités territoriales du cercle de Koutiala qui ont réalisé des infrastructures permettant d’améliorer  la sécurité alimentaire dans le cercle, d’augmenter les revenus des producteurs et de créer plus de 230 emplois permanents. Avec cette dernière phase, la DDC poursuit son accompagnement aux collectivités territoriales qui mettent en place un cadre durable de leur développement économique local.

Programme d’Appui au Secteur de l’Elevage au Mali – PASEM

01.12.2014 - 30.06.2022

Malgré son importance dans l’économie, l’environnement et les sociétés (agro)pastorales, l’élevage rencontre plusieurs contraintes dont la faible productivité, l’insécurité foncière, la faible organisation des acteurs et une forme de marginalisation sociale des éleveurs. La DDC souhaite valoriser les immenses potentialités de l’élevage en renforçant l’approche chaine de valeurs orientée vers le développement des marchés et des acteurs du secteur privé, favorisant la prise en compte des pauvres, des femmes et des jeunes.

Object 13 – 23 of 23