REMARKS BY PAUL A. FOLMSBEE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES TO MALI
CENTRE DE FORMATION DES COLLECTIVITES TERRITORIALES,
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 – 9H00
- Minister of Territorial Collectivities
- The representatives of Malian government
- The Mayor of Kati commune
- Dear Guests,
It is a pleasure to join you this morning for the opening of our Subnational Governance Program, as we say “SNGP” for short, in this our Annual Review.
It is an honor for me to be here today to highlight the United States continued support for the Government of Mali’s efforts to implement a decentralization policy that that will ensure government resources and services are provided to all Malians, in all regions.
USAID has led the efforts for the United States on SNGP since 2015, and we have invested $23 million in the program because we support a more inclusive Mali, with decentralized, transparent, financial practices, and governance that allows all localities to manage their livelihoods, and to be a part of planning their futures collectively and cooperatively for a unified and peaceful Mali.
The United States supports Mali’s pledge through the commitment to SNGP to focus on public financial management systems and to improve communication and coordination between national and regional governance.
We encourage the inclusiveness included in the program because globally it has been proven that by empowering women and youth in civil society and governance, economies stabilize and prosper. Decentralization is also a corner stone of Mali’s Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement, and key to social cohesion throughout the country. All Malians should be allowed access to have a voice and to participate fully in their communities.
Along with empowering youth and women, we must also continue to consider the need to empower all of Mali’s regions to create cooperation, prosperity, and unity.
The United States supports programs such as the SNGP because it is critical to the progress needed for a more secure, cooperative, and ultimately peaceful Mali.
However, while the United States is committed to standing with Mali and investing millions of dollars in projects like the SNGP, we can only do so much.
The successful implementation of the project and the future that it promises depend on the expertise and the full cooperation of you, our Malian partners.
I’d like to take this opportunity to urge my government colleagues to take more concrete actions, to implement the various decrees passed on decentralization and to transfer capacity and more financial resources to territorial collectivities.
The volatile security situation in the central and northern regions is significantly limiting the SNGP’s access to the communities and authorities most in need. And, the lack of stability is limiting the program’s full expansion to all the regions in Mali. But, now more than ever, it is important to be proactive and solve these problems.
This lack of access is denying communities their rights to decent livelihoods. The general lack of financial resources transferred to regions and circles along with delays in the implementation of key laws, specifically the Gender Law, are challenges the USG is committed to helping Mali address.
We hope that the government of Mali will continue to foster the healthy dialogue that develops when citizens’ perspectives and needs are at the heart of governmental priorities.
We continue to call upon all programs like Mali SNGP, in collaboration with the government and other development partners to make sure that civil society organization are fully engaged in Mali’s development processes and that all geographic locations are included.
I ask all my Malian government colleagues and partners to strengthen synergy and communications between the program and various technical and financial departments in the government ministries to maximize the impact of the SNGP program by facilitating citizens’ access to information. I’d like to urge the government, citizens and civil society organizations to join our efforts to address these challenges to financial and communication decentralization, especially in the areas of education and health where basic social services are at stake.
In this important election year, the United States stands with Mali, and we remain committed to the successful implementation of this critical electoral cycle. We hope to help Mali regain its past standing as a champion of democracy in West Africa and pave the way for a more democratic, resilient and prosperous life for present and future generations in Mali.
I wish you all success during the annual review with the hope that we will continue to create progress and improved prosperity for all Malians.
Thank you for your attention!