The EU is to give Mali half a billion euros to aid its reconstruction efforts. The announcement, made by EU commission President José Manuel Barroso, comes on the eve of an important donor-conference in Brussels for the crisis-ridden country.
Mali’s President Dioncounda Traore hopes to event will raise much more:
“When I took the plane to come to Brussels, I had a figure of two billion euros in my head. I said to myself, if we can reach that 1.5 or 1.6, then we can consider that a real success,” he said.
Mali estimates it needs about two billion euros to rebuild parts of the country where France intervened in January to drive out Islamist rebels who had taken control of the north.
A dozen heads of state are expected to attend the conference in Brussels, co-chaired by Barroso along with the French and Malian presidents Francois Hollande and Traore.