Brussels to give Mali €520 million for reconstruction

The European Union will pledge more than half a billion euros to help Mali rebuild after months of conflict, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday (14 May).


"Tomorrow we will commit €520 million for Mali between 2013 and 2014," Barroso said ahead of a conference of aid donors in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Malian government is seeking roughly €2 billion in support from the conference, which is being organized by the European Union, to help fund a €4.34 billion plan to keep the peace and help restore infrastructure to the country.

"If we can get to 1.5-1.6 billion then I would say we are about there," Mali's President Dioncounda Traoré told the briefing.

The former French colony in West Africa sought urgent military support from Paris in January to halt advances by Islamist rebels who had seized control of the northern two-thirds of the country.

Since the intervention, Islamist rebels have been pushed back from the main urban centres of northern Mali into the mountains and desert, but the French action has failed to stop rebels from waging a guerrilla war.

France is looking to withdraw thousands of its troops and hand over security duties to a UN peacekeeping mission.