Inking progress in letter and in spirit

  • May 15, 2017


It was in October 2015 that the President of the Republic of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, accompanied by a high-level delegation, including several ministers and high-level officials, attended the third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Earlier, the First Lady of Mali, Madame Keita Aminata Maiga, had also visited New Delhi, India in August 2015 to attend the ‘Global Call to Action Summit’, when she briefly met Mr. Modi during the visit.

From the Indian side, high-level visits took place recently when the Indian Vice-President H.E. Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Salma Ansari, visited the Republic of Mali in September 2016, at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Modibo Keita, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali. The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. Mobashar Jawed Akbar’s visit to Mali from February 28 to March 4, 2017, was the latest addition to the string of ministerial-level visits between the two nations.


What does the increase in the number of high-level visits signify? It signifies a reinvigorated commitment to each other’s development. It reaffirms the promise to be ‘partners-in-progress’. And to further galvanise this process, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Mali Chamber of Commerce on trade, commerce and bilateral cooperation in the sidelines of the 11th North-East Business Summit, which took place on March 10, 2017 at the Shangri-La’s Eros hotel in New Delhi. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of the Indian Union Minister of State for the Development of North-Eastern region, Dr. Jitendra Singh and the Mali Minister of Investment Promotion and Private Sector, Mr. Konimba Sidibe. Mr. Sidibe, said that the growing cooperation between India and his country is visible and expressed the hope that the business community in India and Mali will work hard to increase the economic relations between the two countries. The Mali Ambassador to India, Niankoro Yeah Samake, and Secretary of the DoNER Ministry, Naveen Verma were also present on this occasion.

Excerpts of speech of Mali Minister, H.E. Mr. Konimba Sidibe:

“I am very happy to be here at the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Mali Chamber of Commerce, a significant milestone in the relationship between Mali and India. The first point that I want to figure out is that of the growing friendship between the two countries, especially over the last five months. There have been a number of high level visits from the Indian side to Mali, including that of the Vice-President (H.E. Mohammad Hamid Ansari) and the Minister of State for External Affairs (Mr. M J Akbar). “The second thing that I want to state is about the growing trade relations through increase in the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – a sign of developing good business relations between the two countries. This is why I am here today. This is why a significant delegation has come here for the signing of the MoU. “The third thing I want to point out is the potential, the great potential that Mali today has for developing business relations. This progression will come highly from agriculture, agri-business, construction, infrastructure, minerals, energy and Information and Communication Technology. It will promote stability and growth. Besides meeting the supply side, Mali is a hub in the west-African region on the demand side as well. The economic development is getting faster and faster.”

Ahead in ‘The Ease of Doing Business’

“The economic growth in Mali over the past decade has been over 5% a year. In the year 2016, Mali was ranked first in the West-African region in the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ of the World Bank. “The next thing is Public-Private Partnership, commonly termed as the PPP model, under which my Government has developed many projects. I use this platform to invite you to be a part of the PPP model and invest in various sectors such as infrastructure and energy. “I would like to thank the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Government of India for this humongous opportunity. I hope that the two business communities will work hard together to develop the economies. Thank You,” the Minister concluded.

Powerhouse of West-African region

Mali has become a powerhouse for the West-African region, supplying resources to its neighbours, with focus on engaging industries and simplifying the process of doing business. There are stories of successful exports from Mali, especially cotton, cottonseed oils, livestock and textiles. The need is to scale up the volume of the trade and the desire is to bring forth all that Mali has to offer to uplift those parts of the country which have somehow lagged behind over the years.

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