The Looming Civil Strife and Food Crisis in Mali

Ami Diarra, a Trickle Up participant from Mali, shows us her business, buying and selling beans in the market. She also uses the beans to feed her family.

The West African country of Mali, the site of Trickle Up's largest program, is one of those places that rarely makes news.  Unfortunately, though, Mali is now in the news because of unrest that apparently is linked to the downfall of Muammar el-Qaddafi.  Thousands of Malian men who had gone to Libya to fight for Qaddafi have no returned home to join with members of the Tuareg tribe in the northern desert of Mali.  The Tuaregs, who historically have resisted government control, have been engaged in several recent battles with Mali's army.

Mali can ill afford civil strife.  Already one of the poorest nations on the planet, its tourism industry has been decimated by a number of kidnappings of foreigners, allegedly by an Al Qaeda group active in the region.  Mali also faces a looming food crisis, as droughts and poor harvests take their toll.  Several global aid agencies have recently sounded an alarm about potential crisis-level hunger in the region.

Here are two links to articles about recent unrest in Mali and a link to an excellent report about food situation in the Sahel region, which includes Mali.

From the Guardian: Mali contends with new Tuareg rebellion as food crisis looms (2.7.2012)

From the New York Times: Qaddafi’s Weapons, Taken by Old Allies, Reinvigorate an Insurgent Army in Mali (2.5.2012)

 From Action Against Hunger: The Sahel Food Crisis, A Race Against Time