On Wednesday, September 20, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable discussion with His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali.
Atlantic Council Board Treasurer Mr. Brian C. McK. Henderson and Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham welcomed distinguished guests and introduced the president.
In his remarks, Keïta thanked international partners for their efforts to bring peace and security to Mali. He stressed that foreign military intervention in Mali has brought stability to the country and allowed it to get back on its feet after the 2012 coup d’état. Keïta spoke at length about the importance of international cooperation and partnerships, pointing to the many agreements Mali has made with its neighbors to combat cross-border terrorism and organized crime in the region. In addition, Keïta stressed the importance of the Group of Five Sahel States in pooling multinational resources to combat regional economic and security issues.
Speaking on the economy, Keïta applauded his country’s overall success despite adversity, highlighting Mali’s continued growth, relatively low debt, and improved ranking on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. Keïta also emphasized his government’s commitment to developing Mali’s agricultural sector, noting that 15 percent of the budget is allocated to agriculture and rural development.
A discussion followed the president’s prepared remarks.
The Malian delegation also included H.E. Boubou Cissé, Minister of Economy and Finance; Hon. Karim Keïta, Chairman, Commission on National Defense, Security, and Civil Protection; Hon. Moustapha Ben Barka, Deputy Secretary General at the Office of the President; and H.E. Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations, among others. Also in attendance and participating in the roundtable were Atlantic Council Board Directors Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and Special Assistant for Strategic Planning at the National Security Council, and Mr. Ahmed Charai, Chairman, Maroc Télématique; Atlantic Council International Advisory Board Members Mr. Mehmet Nazif Günal, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and President, MNG Group of Companies, and Mr. Tewodros Ashenafi, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Southwest Holdings; and a number of US and non-US government officials, business leaders, and civil society actors.