Wednesday, May 15, 2013

EU to donate €520mn to rebuild Mali as conflict rages on

Malian soldiers fire a machine gun in Gao.(Reuters / Joe Penney)  

The EU has pledged half a billion euro to rebuild Mali as fighting against Islamist militants continues in the north. France intervened in Mali in January and has 1,000 troops stationed there, raising fears of a drawn-out battle against insurgency.

EU leaders plan to channel 520 million euro (US$73 million) into the impoverished country between 2013 and 2014 at an international aid donors’ conference in Brussels on Wednesday. The Union has said that the total amount of aid could increase in coming months.

The funds will be invested into the “total relaunch” of the country, a 4.3-billion-euro initiative that includes organizing the elections for July. However, doubts have been raised over the viability of holding elections so soon given the tens of thousands of Malians displaced by the conflict and taking refuge in neighboring countries.

The EU money will also go towards installing basic infrastructure in Mali’s north, the lack of which has undermined public support for the interim government.

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