Mali’s diaspora is 4 million strong, with 200,000 of these in Europe, primarily in France. The diaspora is key for Mali’s development, sending over US$1 billion in remittances in 2021 alone, making up almost 6 per cent of Mali’s GDP.
The diaspora invest to have a lasting societal impact and financial return, with most people investing in businesses within the agricultural sector, and specifically in businesses owned by members of the diaspora and their relatives. However, this desire to invest is at odds with a lack of reliable investment channels.
The Diaspora Investment in Sustainable Rural Youth Entrepreneurship in Mali programme, which is co-financed with the European Union Trust Fund, supports these investments by proposing investment options adapted to this group’s needs.
IFAD promotes the potential of diaspora investments to donors and decision-makers so they can take concrete action to support them, while raising awareness of the investment options among the diaspora. This is done by sharing data, providing information about productive investment and financial education, and organising events.
Under the programme, pilot projects have been launched in partnership with two high-impact investment companies—Investisseurs et Partenaires (I&P) and FADEV. They invest in Mali-based companies that have potential for social or environmental impact. In doing so, the funded companies have an alternative to costly and inaccessible bank loans, gain access to patient capital (usually seven years), do not have to provide collateral, and are given strategic and operational support.
The programme is part of the Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), through which IFAD identifies the conditions under which the diasporas handle their investments, understands their needs, and defines models to meet their expectations.