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Cross-border health centre for Mali/Burkina Faso

On 17 February 2012, as the white ribbon finally floats to the dusty desert ground, the mood is one of celebration. Kafougouna Koné, Mali’s Interior Minister, is beaming. And little wonder – with his symbolic ribbon-cutting gesture, he has just opened the new cross-border health centre located between the villages of Wanian in Mali and Ouarokuy in Burkina Faso.

This project, unique to date, has come about as part of the African Union’s border management programme. To deflect conflict, the programme works to establish and demarcate land and sea borders as well as promote cross-border cooperation. Since 2008, the Federal Foreign Office has provided around 17 million euros to support the programme, which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The goal of regional reconciliation

Coexistence was not always peaceful here. Several times in the 1980s, Mali and Burkina Faso found themselves on the brink of war. Mali’s Interior Minister and his Burkina Faso counterpart were determined that those times must never be allowed to return.

At the health centre’s opening ceremony

At the health centre’s opening ceremony
© AA

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At the health centre’s opening ceremony

At the health centre’s opening ceremony

At the health centre’s opening ceremony

This political will is shared by the local people. Hundreds of people from the surrounding villages on both sides of the border have been treated in Africa’s first cross-border health centre in the two years since it opened. The health centre has brought a marked improvement in their medical care and at the same time, day in day out, it is making a contribution to reconciliation in the region. Whether patients are from Burkina Faso or Mali makes no difference here. The health centre is both run and used on a joint basis.

Further projects are already planned and will benefit from the positive experiences gained with this successful example of cross-border cooperation.


Last updated 01.04.2014