Mali Country Programme Evaluation - the way forward for the IFAD/Mali Cooperation

by Aissata Cheick Sylla and Adriane Del Torto

This morning the Minister of Agriculture Dr Yaranga Coulibaly officially opened the National Roundtable workshop for the Mali Country Programme Evaluation undertaken by IFAD’s Independent Evaluation Office. To mark this special occasion, two members of Government, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Mr Makan Aliou Tounkara and the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training Dr Diallo Deidia Katara, the Commissioner for Food Security, Mr Yaya Tamboura and the President of the Assemblée Permanente des Chambres d’Agriculture du Mali. (APCAM) Mr Bakary Togola, the Interim director of the Independant Evaluation Office Mr Ashwani Muthoo and the Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD, Mr Ides de Willebois all participated in the workshop.

During his opening speech, His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture expressed the great honour that it is for the Government of Mali to host this important event, demonstration of the excellent partnership between IFAD and Mali, partnership that has been quite strong over the past years. In fact, this excellent partnership has now been fruitful for the past 30 years. The Minister conveyed his satisfaction with IFAD’s engagement and determination in its fight against food insecurity alongside the Republic of Mali. He concluded by guaranteeing that the Government of Mali will stop at nothing to invest in this partnership further and will accompany IFAD in designing new projects and programmes.

The Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD saluted the fruitful and sustainable collaboration between IFAD and Mali as well as the Government’s strong engagement and active participation in the workshop. He confessed being proud of the quality of the partnership built over the past 30 years. One of the reasons for the success of this partnership, he explained, is its alignment with national strategies and objectives in agriculture, as well as the flexibility of its programmes and project to integrate the view of the Republic of Mali in its rural development programmes, assuring their sustainability over the years.

The Interim Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation addressed the objective and the importance of such a workshop. He insisted that two Country Evaluations in a five year span demonstrates the importance of the Mali Country Programme ,not only for the West and Central Africa Division, but also for IFAD as an institution. He insisted on the importance of the workshop objectives which includes setting the way forward for operations and partnership with Mali. .

Finally, during the opening Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Senior Evaluator, made a presentation on the main conclusions of the report where he stressed the positive outcomes of the evaluation. According to the extensive study in the country, there are many positive outcomes of the Mali Country Programme needing further visibility and capitalisation. These include community investments and community driven development, sustainability of infrastructure, land tenure, gender, environment and natural resource management and decentralisation. Recommendations for improvement include giving greater importance to geographic distribution of poverty in Mali and the risks related to the occupation of the North and climate change and all related topics.