WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$ 20 million zero-interest IDA* credit to Mali to help the country develop and improve its agriculture and food production by fostering closer links with agribusinesses and commercial financing.
The additional financing will go towards building on the achievements of the ongoing Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project. “The project will help improve the performance of agriculture and livestock businesses in which Mali has a comparative advantage in domestic, sub-regional and international markets”, said Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Country Director for Mali. “The World Bank will help to accelerate commercial agriculture in rural areas of Mali.”
The research and development approach which occurred in the first phase of the project, demonstrating innovative technologies for irrigation and processing of agricultural products and livestock, helped to develop technical and economic standards ("farm budgets"), which served as the basis for the establishment of relevant and profitable small and medium enterprises. Abiding by the standards of the Global Partnership for Good Agricultural Practices, which certifies good agricultural practices, has "unlocked" the international market for Malian mangos.
"The project will continue to increase the value of food and other agricultural products and promote profitable small and medium-sized farms,” says Yeyandé Kassé Sangho, Senior Specialist in Agribusiness and the Bank's Task Team Leader. "This new financing should increase rural incomes and employment.”
More than 270 companies are currently in business, with another 200 planned to open during the additional phase, many of which will benefit women. The majority of Mali’s farmers are women, and more than 70 percent of Africa’s farming workforce is made up of women.
The World Bank is one of Mali's leading partners with a total commitment of $732.75 million in development financing. This comprises a current portfolio of 13 national and seven regional projects in the areas of rural development, basic services, energy, transport, institutional reform and decentralization.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.