Five Years after the Bamako Peace Agreement: Where is Mali Heading?

This policy brief highlights some of the key state building conundrums that Mali faces such as the eroding capacity of the central administration, the fragmentation of the security and justice sectors as well as identity divisions. It calls for reducing institutional and identity heterogeneity to bring Malians to the same plane if violence is to be replaced with peace, stability and prosperity. The 2015 Peace Agreement, if not aligned with a national ambitious plan to erect a functional statehood, will unlikely prevent the country from relapsing into violence in the long-term.In this brief, I argue that any hasty implementation of the Agreement will not preserve Mali from future political turbulences; it will only retard another spectrum of large-scale political violence if foundational governance issues are left unaddressed. Therefore, instead of holding the Peace Agreement sacred, which its critics see as drawing heavily on past recipes, the international community should rather view it as means of supporting and advancing the Malian state-making endeavor. This policy brief highlights some of the key governance deficiencies that have impeded the Malian state building project. Though there has been a consensus on the necessity of ‘bringing the state back’ in the post-conflict reconstruction programme in Mali, the current approach has failed to generate rule centralisation fundamental to the erection of a stable political order. Given the limited space available, this policy brief aims to scrutinize some of the state building challenges that Mali faces, namely, the eroding capacity of the central administration, the fragmentation of security sector as well as identity divisions. Finally, recommendations are provided to the Malian stakeholders as well as to their international counterparts to advance the Malian statehood and give a chance to peace.