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Mali

Volume 576: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2014

4. How much her Department gave in aid to Mali in 2013; and how much it plans to give to that country in 2014. (902822)

The UK gave £23 million of bilateral aid to Mali in 2013, supporting some 650,000 people. We also pledged £110 million over four years for long-term resilience work in the Sahel region. The UK provides assistance through multilateral contributions, and we are considering additional bilateral funding for 2014.

I welcome the fact that the Government are considering additional funding. To date, most of the money has been used for humanitarian relief because of the political weakness and the terrorist threat not just in Mali but across the region. Should we not now put money into development to provide livelihoods for young people, so that they do not turn to the terrorists and can make a future for themselves in their own countries?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. Livelihoods and jobs are a key focus for DFID, and we are doing a great deal of work on them. Some of the money that we are providing is built into resilience work, because the problems in the Sahel are about drought and climate change. It is what we can do for the long term that matters most.

Does the Minister agree that although Mali is not within our normal sphere of influence, it is critical to the future stability of the Sahel? Is she aware that there was a lot of devastation to agriculture during the recent civil war? What can DFID do to help multilateral organisations that are working to help communities there?

We put a great deal of our money through multilaterals right across the Sahel, and we have committed £83 million in humanitarian support through the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and international non-governmental organisations across five countries—Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger.