Mali: Reform or Relapse
"This report is based on several dozen interviews conducted in Bamako, Gao, Niamey, Dakar and Paris with Malian political and military actors, their foreign partners and Malian civil society representatives in both the north and south of the country. It examines the challenges faced by the new government and President IBK and the other actors involved in stabilisation and institutional reform. It first analyses the political process that, following the signature of the Ouagadougou agreement, created the conditions for the election of President IBK and the formation of a new government. After looking at the new government’s first steps, this report describes the continuing violence and discontent in the north as well as the difficulties faced by the international security forces in consolidating their gains. It then examines the national dialogue launched by the government and the tensions affecting the post-Ouagadougou agreement negotiations between the government and armed groups. The report highlights the tension between attempts to address the root causes of the crisis through state reforms and the temptation to stabilise the country by resuming the clientelistic practices of previous governments. It makes practical recommendations on how to break with these practices without compromising stabilisation and get started on a more ambitious, long-term reform of the state."