World Bank suspends payments to Mali in bid to put pressure on military junta after latest coup

The World Bank has announced it is temporarily cutting its payments to Mali after the Sahel nation’s government was ousted by the military last week in the country’s second coup in nine months.

Mali’s interim president Bah Ndaw and other leading officials were rounded up and arrested by soldiers last Monday for allegedly failing in their efforts to lead the country’s democratic transition after a military coup in August.

The World Bank, which is currently funding $1.5 billion worth of projects in Mali, informed news agency Reuters of the suspension.

“In accordance with the World Bank policy applicable to similar situations, it has temporarily paused disbursements on its operations in Mali, as it closely monitors and assesses the situation,” the bank said in a statement.

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FILE PHOTO: French soldiers keep watch during a military convoy's trip between Gossi and Hombori in Mali, March 26, 2019 © AFP / Daphne Benoit
France suspends joint military operations with Mali in bid to force ruling junta to transfer power back to civilian leaders

Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the two coups, was declared president late last week after having previously served as vice president under Ndaw.

According to local reports, Goita will name the leader of opposition coalition M5-RFP, Choguel Maiga, as prime minister.

He has also pledged to continue with Mali’s scheduled elections, which are planned for 2022.

Mali’s military has faced growing regional and international pressure over the coup, with France announcing the suspension of all of its joint operations with the country on Thursday.

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FILE PHOTO. The interim president of Mali Bah Ndaw.
UN, African Union call for ‘immediate & unconditional’ release of Mali’s president and key officials detained by military

The French Defense Ministry said its suspension is a “conservative and temporary measure” pending guarantees from Mali’s interim military leader that the elections in February of next year will take place.

Mali’s military has also received backlash from within the continent, with both the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announcing the country’s expulsion from the groups this week.

Unlike ECOWAS, which did not take further measures against Mali, the AU threatened the country with sanctions.

On Friday, at a rally in the Malian capital Bamako, Maiga told the crowds that “sanctions and threats will only complicate the situation.”

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