The fact that poverty i s predominantly rural points to the needthat growth must come
from rural areas to increase rural incomes and provide employment (farm and non-farm). The sources o f growth in the rural sector are quite well known and the Bank has experience and knowledge o f what kindo f investments can stimulate rural growth. The question i s more to formulate comprehensive programs, facilitate G o M commitment and mobilize the resources, particularly human, for implementation. For example, the livestock sector i s potentially important for growth and poverty reduction inview o f its role inthe rural economy. The same applies for nontraditional exports (fruits and vegetables, arabic gum, Tiger pea, etc.), for which markets exist and pilot marketingtests have been successful (e.g. mango exports by sea). The actions to be undertaken to support development o f these sub- sectors needto be articulated in a clear and operational strategy fully backed by G o M and stakeholders. The Bank plans to do this inthe context o f the CEM as well as through the rural operations.
The Agriculture Diversificationand CompetitivenessProgram (FY05) aims to
build on the knowledge base and raise rural population incomes through promoting high
value-added agriculture products, raising agricultural productivity, increasing market access, upgrading irrigation equipment and techniques and improving cotton sector production. The program will be intrinsically linked to the on-going cotton reforms beingpursuedthrough the SAC. The objectives o f this project respond to the pressingneeds for income generation, diversification and food security. The project will complement the on-going two rural development projects, namely the NationalProgramfor RuralInfrastructure(PNIR) and
the Agricultural Services and Producer OrganizationsSupport Program(PASAOP) which focus respectively on rural infrastructure and environmental protection and agricultural research and support to agricultural and producer organizations.
As outlined inBox 3, the Bank has beenvery active inhelpingthe G o M and
stakeholders inthe cotton sector to respond to the severe crisis o f C M D T in 1999/2000, as well as to prepare and implement a sector restructuring program which i s being supported
through SAC-3. These reforms have beeninitiated and the transition to a fully privatized and
liberalized sector organization will require strong and steady support for a number o f years. Given Mali’s comparative advantage inthe cotton sector, recovery o f the sector remains a highpriority and the Bank’s program will continue to provide close assistance to the country’s efforts inthis regard.
As already mentioned, Mali’s population i s predominately rural and dependent on the
agriculture sector. While basic infrastructure i s essential and i s being supported through the PNIR, it alone will not catalyze rural development; rural populations also need sustainable revenue-generating activities. The proposed Rural Community-BasedDevelopment Project (RCBD -FY05) aims to create alternatives to rapid city migration by creating rural job opportunities usinga participatory approach and by promoting social and productive investments. The operation will also focus on capacity building for local government, deconcentrated service providers and local populations, including civil society. It will build
on the community-driven development lessons from the successful Grassroots Hunger and Poverty Project (PAIB) and will complement the activities o f the PNIR.
The current Urban Developmentand Decentralizationproject will be extendedto
allow for full implementation. As the urban population continues to grow, the Bank will conduct Urban Analysis ESW to take into account rural-urban migration issues and to