The government of Mali, through the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration, aims at boosting more significantly the diaspora's contribution to the social, economic, and cultural development of the country, beyond the financial windfall brought year after year to the national economy estimated at 538 billion CFA francs in 2018. Besides this very important contribution, which amounts to approximately twice the official development aid the country receives from its partners, the government intends, through this programme, to mobilise the skills and expertise resulting from the diaspora movements to strengthen youth employability, to improve human capital for job creation and encourage entrepreneurship.
In this regard, a high-level conference was organised on 15 and February 2021 at the Azalaï Salam Hotel in Bamako chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Moctar OUANE and attended by the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Mali, Mrs. Mbaranga GASARAWE, as well as several high-ranking diplomats and representatives of international organisations.
Over 6 million Malians are estimated to work outside the country out of a total population of 20 million. The country's potential in all socio-economic and cultural areas is huge, and despite a multidimensional crisis’ situation that has affected its development significantly, Mali has achieved macroeconomic performances, honouring its rank as the third largest economy in the UEMOA* monetary zone with an average growth rate of 5% in the year 2020.
For many experts present at the high-level conference, the project to mobilise diaspora skills and expertise for employment in Mali was entirely in line with overall development strategies adopted by the United Nations as well as other multilateral and bilateral institutions such as the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), inter alia. This underlines the coherence and relevance of the programme, in light of the current context dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the security crisis in the Sahel. What motivates the government and its development partners even more is the certainty that this programme could contribute to effectively tackle endemic youth unemployment, as well as irregular emigration and could provide more opportunities for the socio-professional integration to this significant part of the population aged between 15 and 35 years old.
In this framework, the ANPE, whose mission consists of contributing to the implementation of the government's national employment policy, has a key role to play as a public employment service, capitalising on its enormous experience and proven expertise in all the areas targeted by the programme (strengthening the employability of young people, integration-oriented training, apprenticeship, upgrading and career transition, employment development and entrepreneurship, etc.).
Accordingly, Mr. Ibrahim Ag Nock, Managing Director of the agency, held productive talks with the Feel Hilt company promoter, Mr. Ibrahim Sissoko, a compatriot from the diaspora, to sign very soon a partnership agreement in the field of employment promotion and entrepreneurship.
This is therefore a good launch pad for this programme of skills mobilisation of the diaspora for the employment in Mali, whose initial duration is planned for 5 years and which will focus on the spread of these Malian expatriates' expertise over the whole of the national territory (1,241,000 km²).
The programme is considered by all observers as innovative, inclusive, participative and perfectly in line with the government's and development partners' priorities Its implementation will be closely monitored and regularly assessed by all stakeholders
We will therefore meet again in 5 years' time to assess the results, however relevant and enthusiastic the initiative may be.
Brehima N. Sidibé
*UEMOA: Union économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (The West African Monetary and Economic Union)