The United Nations (UN) pledged to disburse US$ 3 million or FCFA 1.5 billion to help Mali develop the first three bases used by former combatants of the armed groups during the crisis in northern Mali.
An agreement to this effect was signed on Monday in Bamako by the Malian Minister of National Reconciliation and development of northern regions, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Mali, Bert Koenders, on the sidelines of third informal workshop between the Malian authorities and armed groups.
The project is supported by a peace building fund through which three out of the eight sites identified will be opened.
Each site will accommodate between 500 and 1,000 fighters.
According to Koenders, there is the need for a prompt return of the Malian administration in the northern part of the country.
'The return of the administration is not only important in itself, but is also a condition needed for people to have better access to basic social services such as education, health, water and electricity,' he said.
He said that about 60% of the prefects, sub-prefects, gendarmerie officers, national guards and policemen have been deployed to the sites while the governors of Mopti, Kidal, Tombouctou and Gao have resumed their duties.
On the other hand, 82% of children enrolled before the crisis have returned to class, 90% of health centres now operational in the north and most of the cities in the region are supplied with electricity.
The Minister of National Reconciliation and development of northern regions, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, recalled that the Malian government had implemented a programme aimed at speeding up the development of the northern region of Mali (PCDA / RN), with 165 projects costing FCFA 1.439 billion of which F CFA 559 billion (41 pc of the overall funding) have been secured.
PANA reports that Malian authorities have already started the first phase of PCDA / RN which will cost F CFA 25.3 billion to cover the priority needs of the region.