Over the decades and successive partnership agreements, the collaboration between Mali and the EU covers dimensions such as political dialogue, security, and trade.


The cooperation between the European Community, then the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has been established for several decades by the various Conventions or Agreements of Yaoundé, Lomé and Cotonou. 

The European Union - Mali cooperation, established in 1958, is well anchored, robust, substantial and constantly evolving along the path of enlargement and strengthening. It was established before the country’s independence in 1958. 

Since that date, especially through its main historical instrument, the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Union has supported Mali continuously in the fields of rural development, the environment, humanitarian aid, road infrastructure, urban and social development, institutional support and culture. This support materialised in more than 2,000 billion FCFA in aid. 

Future European Joint Programming 

The Europeans (the European Union, the EU Member States present in Mali, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and the European Investment Bank) have validated a European Joint Programming (CEP) which has identified 3 objectives for helping to rebuild a peaceful Mali: 

  • Better functioning of the state in the service of its population. 
  • Sustainable economic growth that creates jobs.
  • Development of human capital to secure the future of the country. 

The European Joint Programming has defined the 3 objectives that Europeans want to achieve for and in Mali by 2020-2024, the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) 2021-2027 Programming for Mali is fully registered in the objectives and areas of intervention of the PCe. 

Compared to the previous European Development Fund (EDF), the NDICI also emphasizes new funding methods and the coherences that can be sought, for example with other partners, the Member States of the EU but also development banks, to increase the impact of European support. In addition to the "classic" programmable funds in grants, there is also the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD +) which, thanks to an external guarantee mechanism, must amplify the impact of the funds available. 

By integrating the joint analysis of risks and vulnerabilities, the country's needs and the policies pursued by its government (including in priority CREDD), in optimal continuity of the programmes and projects already underway and taking into account the priorities decided by the Commission and the Council of the EU (such as the fight against climate warming, strengthening of the private sector, gender equality or the fight against irregular migration), the axes of NDICI programming are envisaged in support of the PCe: 

  • Improvement of the functioning of the State. 
  • Job creation promoting the green economy. 
  • Response to essential/basic human needs.

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    Electoral observer and voter

    Observation Mission for the Presidential Elections

    Copyright: MOE

Political relations

Faced with an unstable political and security situation for several years, the European Union (EU) is supporting the Government with a view to resolving the Covid-19 crisis and supporting Mali on the path to sustainable development

The EU's current cooperation strategies under the European Development Fund (EDF) with Mali focus on political and economic governance, institutional capacity building and regional integration. 

In the political domain, collaboration encompasses: 

  • Political support for peace and reconciliation talks in Mali and for the modernization of the state.
  • Taking into account the regional dynamics affecting Mali, particularly on security issues. 

Diplomatic action 

The EU became concretely involved in the Malian political scene in 2013, in particular through its participation in the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreements (June 18, 2013), which enabled a ceasefire in the north of the country and organisation of the general elections. In this context, the EU deployed an Observation Mission for the 2013 presidential elections, supporting the electoral process funded to the tune of 17 million euros. 

In 2018, the EU deployed another Presidential Election Observation Mission. The European Union supports the implementation of the Mali Peace Agreement signed in 2015 and is a member of international mediation within the framework of monitoring the Agreement. 

Security action 

This commitment revolves around several interventions: 

The EUTM Mali Mission (European Training Mission). Established in February 2013, the mandate of this mission is carried out within the framework of the Common Defence and Security Policy (CSDP). 

Since January 2015, a similar mission (EUCAP Mali) has been operating for the benefit of the police, the gendarmerie and the national guard. The EU’s engagement in this area continues with the EUCAP Sahel Mali Mission and through other instruments and programmes defined in consultation with the Malian authorities. 

Economic relations

The European Union's relations with the African continent are based on mutual respect and solidarity. They aim, through dialogue and a multifaceted partnership, to improve the well-being of populations, based on good governance and the rule of law, and on the optimisation of the effects of trade and investment as means. reduce poverty and promote economic and social development.

The European Union's relations with the African continent are based on mutual respect and solidarity. They aim, through dialogue and a multifaceted partnership, to improve the well-being of populations, based on good governance and the rule of law, and on the optimisation of the effects of trade and investment as means, reduce poverty and promote economic and social development.

The partnership between the European Union and Africa is based on two major instruments: the Cotonou Agreement which governs the conditions for development cooperation between the European Union and the so-called ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) and a continental approach known as the “Joint EU-Africa Strategy” (JAES). The EU-Africa partnership advocates an innovative and ambitious approach in all areas of common interest, on the principle of political equality between partners, but taking into account the structural differences and level of development that justify adapted solutions in certain cases. 

With regard to trade and investment, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) concluded between the regions of Africa and the EU is a stable, secure and predictable, long-term partnership which aims to support countries in their objectives of integration into the world economy, as well as to promote inclusive and sustainable development. The EPA will help African companies to import quality inputs at a lower cost, acquire new technologies, attract investment and export better through better competitiveness, as well as access the European market without the right to trade, customs or quota. 

The EPA will help African consumers by improving product choices while lowering prices. To take advantage of these benefits, the EU works jointly with the African countries, for widespread awareness of the Agreement, as well as to support reforms and measures that improve economic governance at the national level and regional. 

The European Union occupies a marginal place in Malian exports. However, when the gold sector is excluded, the structure of exports changes slightly and the EU (28 states) appears more clearly in exports, occupying a share of around 9.2%. 

The EU saw its share of Malian imports contract slightly, down from 26.9% in 2010 to 23.7% in 2016. This share is dragged down by the fall in imports from France, which have were cut almost in half between 2010 and 2016. France has thus fallen to fourth place among Mali's trading partners behind Senegal, China and the Ivory Coast. 

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between West Africa and the EU which is supposed to replace the Cotonou Agreement for the commercial aspects of relations between the EU and Mali and which should allow a gradual opening of the respective markets, has not yet entered into force due to the delay in signing by Nigeria. Consequently, in Mali, the "Everything except arms" regime still applies, which establishes the possibility for Mali to export any product (except arms) without customs duties. However, unlike the EPA, it is a unilateral EU initiative that can be revoked at any time.

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    Lady sitting

    EU-Africa partnership

    Copyright: John Kalapo

Humanitarian aid

Copyright: Aboubacar Traoré

The office of the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Service (ECHO) was reopened in Bamako in 2012, to better respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from the crisis in Mali since the outbreak of the armed conflict in the north of the country. Its interventions have gradually extended to central and southern Mali.

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Mali, a considerable effort has also been deployed by the EU through ECHO. Humanitarian assistance supports the coverage of the most pressing needs in the areas of food security, health and nutrition, population displacement, education, disaster risk reduction and protection (in particular in connection with gender issues). This support is deployed in most of the Northern and Central areas, as well as in certain Southern areas. 

ECHO has also mobilised its air service, ECHO flight, to facilitate access to humanitarian programmes and populations. 

Refugees and displaced persons 

About 370,000 Malians are living as displaced persons and more than 150,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries. Most refugees depend entirely on aid for their basic needs such as food, health, water and protection, which are partly covered by ECHO. 

Food and nutrition insecurity 

Throughout the Sahel and in Mali, food and nutritional insecurity is recurrent and gives rise to an almost permanent emergency in some areas. ECHO has participated at the regional level in raising awareness of malnutrition by funding nutritional care, access to healthcare, access to drinking water and food security programmes. 

Development cooperation

Development cooperation it's an essential tool for restoring peace and unity in the country

Copyright: Ibrahima Sakho

Since 1958, especially through its main historical instrument, the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Union has supported Mali continuously in the fields of rural development, the environment, humanitarian aid, road infrastructure, urban and social development, institutional support and culture. This support materialized in more than 2,000 billion FCFA in aid. 

For example, the strategy document for the implementation of the 11th EDF in Mali, which covers the years 2014 to 2020, covered 615 million euros, or 403 billion FCFA, broken down as follows: 

  • State reform and consolidation of the rule of law: 280 M € (183.6 billion FCFA).
  • Rural development and food security: 100M € (65.5 billion FCFA).
  • Education: 100M € (65.5 billion FCFA).
  • Road sector: 110 M € (72 billion FCFA).
  • Support to the EDF National Authorising Officer, Civil Society, Technical Facility Fund: € 25 million (CFAF 16.3 billion). 

In addition, the EU is also intervening at the regional level, with the EDF Regional Indicative Programme. 


In Mali, several projects were initiated in 2016, on the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa following the Valletta Conference on migration

Copyright: John Kalapo

Weakened by the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the northern and central regions and by sustained migratory activity, Mali is facing multiple challenges. As an important country of origin and transit of irregular migration, Mali benefits, in addition to other European Union cooperation instruments, from the support of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa in the creation of economic opportunities (Kayes, Sikasso, Koulikoro), protection of migrants and return assistance (via the creation of assistance centres in Bamako and Kayes) and by support for the sustainable reintegration of migrants. 

These actions are supplemented by support for the functioning of the civil registry and the development of employment and training opportunities, as well as by raising awareness of the risks of irregular migration. In the northern and central regions, the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa focuses on the management of border areas (Mopti) and the strengthening of national and regional capacities to fight against criminal, terrorist or trafficking networks. In view of the context of chronic fragility raging in the North, the Trust Fund also supports the strengthening of the resilience of communities and households vulnerable to food and nutritional insecurity in a joint manner with the EDF (PRORESA) and ECHO in order to respond effectively to the different dynamics of the crisis. 

Currently, 16 actions are underway for an amount of more than 220 million euros.