Last update: April 2017

Political relations

Relations between Germany and Mali are close and wide-ranging. Malians like to recall the fact that the Federal Republic of Germany was the first country to recognise the independent Republic of Mali after the short-lived federation with Senegal was dissolved in September 1960.

Germany supports the UN MINUSMA mission, the EU training mission EUTM and the civilian mission EUCAP Sahel in Mali. German Bundestag President Lammert visited Mali in December 2011 and Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle was there in November 2012. Federal Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Niebel and Federal Defence Minister de Maizière travelled to Mali in March 2013. Federal Development Minister Müller visited the country in March 2014 and Federal Defence Minister von der Leyen paid visits in February 2014, July 2015 as well as April and December 2016. Former Federal President Köhler represented Germany at Malian President Keita’s inauguration ceremony in September 2013. President Keita paid an official visit to Berlin in December 2013 and Malian Foreign Affairs Minister Diop was in the German capital in October 2015. Federal President Gauck visited Mali in February 2016, while Foreign Minister Steinmeier was there in May 2016 and Chancellor Merkel in October 2016.

Economic relations and development cooperation

Bilateral trade is relatively insignificant. In 2016, Germany imported from Mali goods worth 4.6 million euros and exported to there goods worth 134.9 million euros, mainly textiles and garments, motor vehicles and vehicle parts, machinery and chemical products (according to the Federal Statistical Office). An investment protection agreement has been in place since 28 June 1977, but there are no major German investments in Mali. Mali is an ACP state and a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union.

German-Malian development cooperation focuses on three areas: decentralisation, agriculture and water/sanitation. The commitments for bilateral development cooperation in Mali have totalled more than 241 million euros since 2013. In addition, commitments amounting to 14.6 million euros have been put to use by agencies engaged in non-governmental development cooperation. Germany is thus the fourth largest donor in Mali.

Cultural relations

Cultural exchange between Germany and Mali is lively. German cultural work there focuses on promoting the German language, the further training of Malian students by providing university and professional education grants – approximately 660 since 1974 through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and InWent – Capacity Building International, Germany (integrated into the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ since 2011). There are nearly 1000 Malians students majoring in German. Most German-speaking Malians of the older generation studied in the GDR.

The original house of the Africa explorer Heinrich Barth in Timbuktu, which contains a small museum, was fully restored with German funding. There are several town twinning arrangements between the two sides.

The Goethe Institute responsible for Mali is located in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). A German-Malian Cultural Circle (CCGM) was founded in Mali in 2005 by former GDR scholarship holders. Since the spring of 2008, it has held regular events and offered German courses with the support of the German Embassy.

As part of its Cultural Preservation Programme, Germany is committed to helping preserve the Arabic manuscripts from the libraries of Timbuktu, which came under threat from Islamist rebels in 2012. The restoration, archiving and digitisation work is ongoing.

Development cooperation

Mali is a partner country of German development cooperation. For more information please visit the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

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