9/15/14, "Mali says signed accords with China for projects worth $11 billion," Reuters
"Mali has signed a string of
agreements with China totalling about $11 billion, most of it
intended to finance two major railway projects linking the
land-locked country to the coast, Mali's presidency said.
Mali gave few details on the terms of the 34 agreements but
said they included some loans. They coincide with fresh talks
with the International Monetary Fund to review a programme for
Mali and resume aid payments halted this year.
The IMF and World Bank froze nearly $70 million in financing
after the Fund expressed concern in May about Mali's purchase of
a $40 million presidential jet and a loan for military supplies,
deals that undermined donor confidence in the commitment of
Mali's new government to rebuild the country after a coup and an
uprising in 2012.
The agreements were signed during a four-day visit by
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to China from Sept. 9 to 13 for
the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, according to a statement
published on the website of Mali's presidency.
China's Foreign Ministry declined to confirm the value of
"China is willing to increase trade and economic cooperation
with African countries to promote joint development," ministry
spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing in Beijing when
asked if he could give any details about the Mali projects.
He did not elaborate except to say China had already
released news about Keita's visit.
The ministry said in a short statement on its website last
week that Premier Li Keqiang told Keita that China was willing
to increase cooperation on mining, agriculture and
infrastructure. It made no mention of any deals signed.
China typically gives very few details about agreements
signed with other countries, especially in Africa.
Mali's presidency said in the website statement the biggest
of the planned projects was an $8 billion, 900-km (560-mile)
railway linking the capital of Bamako to Guinea's port capital
Another 750 billion CFA francs ($1.48 billion) would be used
to renovate the Bamako-Dakar railway, linking Mali to the
Senegalese capital to the west.
Other projects include the construction of a fourth bridge
across the Niger river in Bamako and the construction of roads,
especially in the north of the country, which was seized by a
mix of separatist and al Qaeda-linked rebels in 2012.
French troops were scrambled to scatter the Islamist
fighters, and a U.N. peacekeeping mission has since deployed.
But slow progress has left Keita struggling to retain the
popular support that swept him to power last year.
The statement also lists planned housing, energy and
The $11 billion includes $51 million in gifts and
interest-free loans from China announced by the government on
Mali secured more than $4 billion in donor pledges last
(1 US dollar = 506.6500 CFA francs)." map from wikipedia