The crisis in Mali is having a devastating effect on the populace as over 3.9 million citizens have been caught up in the war while 400,000 are now without homes.
Since 2018, Mali has seen a sharp increase in violence, insecurity, and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.
The fighting between warring groups, vying for control, was previously limited to the northern part of the country. It has now gradually spread to central Mali.
Parliamentary Representatives of Mali at the ECOWAS Parliament, led by Hon Fomba Fatima Niambali disclosed at the presentation of their country’s report at the 2019 Second Ordinary Session of the parliament in Abuja on Friday.
Hon. Niambali said “As of 30th September 2019, the country has 138,900 refugees. The asylum countries are Burkina Faso with 25,721 refugees, Mauritania 56,680 refugees and Niger 56, 499 refugees. The displaced population is composed of 54% women, 46% men, 53% children under 18 years of age and 4% of people aged 60 and over.”
She noted that due to the armed conflicts, inter-community clashes and food shortages, Mali’s humanitarian situation continue to worsen.
“An estimated 3.9 million people (19.5% of the population) are affected by these crises. Insecurity has gradually spread from the northern part of the country to the centre and to the areas bordering Niger and Burkina Faso, which makes access to those areas increasingly dangerous for humanitarians.”
The upheaval caused by conflicts is a major contributing factor to food shortages among vulnerable people. They have no choice but to abandon their homes, fields, and livestock to look for safety, and limited food resources are strained by erratic rain patterns.
The ECOWAS community has played a vital role in assisting the Malian community by donating food items to people displaced by the crisis in the centre of the country.
According to Hon Niambali, “Since April 2019, the city of Sevare has been home to two sites for people displaced by the crisis in the centre of our country.
The first site has 711 people from 151 households and the second 148 people from 38 households. These sites were visited by the parliamentary delegations led by the Speaker of our Community Parliament and received donations of rice and oil.”
She added that Mali is expected to meet three convergence criteria in 2020, out of the six applicable to the West African Economic and Monetary Union known by the French acronym.
The three criteria expected to be met include: One primary criteria, which is end period inflation rate and two secondary criteria including, (i) prohibition of the accumulation of new arrears and settlement of all outstanding arrears, and (ii) internally funded public investment/tax revenue.
In 2001, ECOWAS set up The West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) in Accra, Ghana to undertake technical preparations and monitoring of quantitative convergence criteria for the establishment of a common West African Central Bank.
The ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with WAMI and WAMA, had set out ten macroeconomic convergence criteria for member States to comply with for the single currency to be implemented.
These are known as the Four Primary Convergence Criteria and the Six Secondary Convergence Criteria of quantitative and qualitative benchmarks. Domestication and compliance of the criteria has however not been simultaneous or on a sustainable basis in member States.
The initial date for the launch of the single currency was January, 2003. However, the launching has been postponed several times due to member States’ inability to fulfill the set macroeconomic convergence criteria. The next target for the creation a single currency is 2020.
The report however, explained that the noncompliance with the criteria relating to the wage bill/tax revenue as required by UEMOA and ECOWAS is largely attributable to the increase in retirement age and wage benefits and the salary benefits granted following negotiations with the labour partners