The political crisis in Mali following the seizure of power by the military is quite worrying. It creates a condition of insecurity and uncertainty in the life of that country. During the consultative meeting in Accra, all sides to the conflict together with stakeholders in the sub-region came up with frank discussions from various viewpoints as a way of ensuring a peaceful return to constitutional rule. The military junta wants to rule the country for three years before handing over power to civilian rule. Other stakeholders to the meeting are of the view that as much as possible the country needs to return to civilian rule without any further delay. It is therefore expected that the ECOWAS chair with the support of other sub-regional leaders will be able to strike a deal with the military leaders so as to ensure peace in Mali.
Like many countries in Africa, Mali has its own socio-economic problems that need to be addressed to raise the standard of living of all Malians. Mali’s heavy dependence on a few key sectors together with persistent structural weaknesses has led to growing unemployment. The challenges facing the country include weak governance, wide-spread corruption and slow economic growth. It is for this reason that drastic measures have to be taken to address these challenges. Overcoming these challenges calls for a stable governance system that will institute participatory democracy leading to steady economic growth for that country.
Mali is a vast Sahelian country that has a low-income economy. The economy needs to be diversified so as to be able to withstand all external economic shocks. Economic growth has not been that impressive. After rising to 47.2 percent between 2011 and 2015 owing to the security crisis, the poverty rate fell slightly in 2019 due to increase in agricultural production. Poverty is wide-spread and concentrated in rural areas in southern Mali where population density is very high. High population growth rate and climate change pose major dangers for the country’s food sector and food security.
To worsen matters, rebel groups are operating in various parts of the Northern sector of the country making it extremely difficult for peace to prevail. Thus, as a country, Mali needs peace, good governance, smooth economic growth and active participatory democracy by the people to enable them to turn round the fortunes of the country and make life better for each of their citizens. The ECOWAS leaders under the chairmanship of President Akufo-Addo are doing all they can to chart the way forward for Mali.
As is to be expected, the military junta detained several government officials including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who was made to resign and also dissolve his government. It is expected that the various parties to the political crisis, having met in Accra, will do all they can to resolve the conflict in an acceptable peaceful manner. One issue that would obviously come to light is the security of the military leaders who staged the coup. Once they are assured of their security, it is believed they would leave the country and allow President Ibrahim Keita to continue with his administration.
At the same time, the government of Mali will also be expected to go the extra mile to ensure the rebuilding of the country’s economy to promote rapid socio-economic growth. The talks with the head of Mali’s military junta during the consultative meeting in Accra was progressive in the sense that everything went well and also indicated that the various parties to the crisis were prepared to accommodate each other to attain the ultimate purpose of resolving the political crisis in Mali. The consultative meeting in Accra has provided an opportunity for the various parties to find a lasting solution to the problem in Mali.
From all indications therefore it is strongly believed that sooner or later the issue will be addressed for the good of all the people in Mali.
Written by Dr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Director, Corporate Communications, Ghana Standards Authority.