Canada has been represented by an embassy in Bamako since 1995 (before, the ambassador was resident in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, with an office of the embassy located in Bamako). Mali has had an embassy in Ottawa since 1978.
Mali and Canada have historically cooperated closely with regards to development, good governance and security. After condemning the coup d’état of March 22, 2012, Canada announced on March 24, 2012 that it was suspending aid programs involving direct payments to the government of Mali. Nonetheless, programs executed through local and international non-governmental organizations, including those that delivered humanitarian assistance directly to the people of Mali, continued. Canada took a strong leadership role with La Francophonie, Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) and other partners, in advocating international pressure to emphasize the need for a return to constitutional and democratic order. This pressure included the suspension of Mali from La Francophonie and the suspension of direct bilateral aid. In addition, on January 14, 2013, following a formal request from France, Canada authorized the deployment of an RCAF C-17 transport aircraft to support French logistical operations between France and Bamako, until December 31, 2013. In May 2013, Canada provided $10 million through the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) to support stability and security in Mali and $75 million on mitigating the risk of social unrest and continuing to provide basic services in health, food security, nutrition and education.
Canada contributed $250,000 to help set up an international electoral-assessment team of Canadian and international experts. Following a successful democratic transition by means of presidential (July and August 2013) and legislative elections (November and December 2013), Canada confirmed on April 10, 2014, the resumption of direct bilateral assistance to the government of the Republic of Mali. By resuming this assistance, Canada reiterated its support to the government of Mali. Canada also supported Mali’s reinstatement in La Francophonie on November 6, 2013.
In 2013, bilateral merchandise trade with Mali totalled nearly $12.7 million, including $410,000 in imports to Canada, particularly canned foods (fruit), and electrical and electronic equipment. Canadian exports to Mali totalled $12.2 million and included machinery, printed products and textiles. Canadian investments in Mali are mainly concentrated in the gold sector (Mali ranks third in Africa in gold production). Canada and Mali concluded negotiations for a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA) in October 2011. When in force, this Agreement will provide greater predictability and certainty for Canadian investors considering investment opportunities in Mali. In its Global Markets Action Plan, Canada has designated Mali as an emerging market offering various opportunities to Canadian companies.
Canada resumed its development programs that directly support the Malian government, in order to maximize rapid, concrete outcomes, particularly in the areas of health, education and governance. In 2010-2011, Canada was Mali’s fourth-largest donor, providing an average annual envelope of about $112 million since 2008. After suspending its direct assistance to the Government of Mali following the March 2012 coup, Canada continued to support Malians through various non‑governmental and multilateral organizations, in areas such as food security, nutrition, health and education. Canada also provided Malians with $15 million in humanitarian assistance in 2013, in response to the food and health crisis in the Sahel and the effects of the conflict in northern Mali. Canada’s contribution for 2012‑2013 therefore totalled over $107 million for humanitarian assistance and development in Mali. In the health sector, Canada played a role in saving the lives of thousands of women and newborns by increasing the percentage of births attended by qualified health workers, from 30% in 2003 to 53% in 2011. In addition, since 2010, Canadian support for irrigation has increased farm production for close to 20,000 small rural producers, who, as a result, have harvested close to 20,000 additional tons of rice - enough to meet the food needs of over 240,000 Malians.
President Touré made an official visit to Canada in May 2005 and attended the Francophonie Summit in Québec City in October 2008. Mali hosted then Governor General Michaëlle Jean in November 2006 and twice welcomed Canada’s International Cooperation Minister (Josée Verner in 2006 and Beverly J. Oda in 2010), as well as then Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon in 2009. The Auditor General of Canada made an official visit in January 2010. In December 2011, then Minister of State for La Francophonie Bernard Valcourt, met with Foreign Affairs Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga on the margins of the 27th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie in Paris. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Lois Brown, attended the ceremony marking the beginning of President Keïta’s term in September 2013. On March 3, 2014, Minister of International Trade Ed Fast met with the Malian Minister of Mines, Boubou Cissé, at the annual Prospector and Development Association of Canada (PDAC) conference, in Toronto.
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