At the beginning of April, GRET officially opened a representation office in Mali, which is headed up by Charles Bakyono. Originally from Burkina Faso, the latter has been working since 2016 on the project to improve the competitiveness of businesses through vocational training (in French only)(Acefor). Shortly after his appointment to the position, he answered our questions.
What are the main development issues in Mali?
Development issues here are mainly related to reducing poverty and inequalities, implementing the Peace agreement, calming the social climate, fighting against insecurity, but also to the country’s capacity to ensure the employability of over 300,000 young people who enter the job market every year.
How does GRET contribute to fighting against poverty in Mali?
It is through the implementation of its activities and close collaboration with its local partners that GRET intends to fight poverty in Mali. GRET is currently leading two important vocational training and professional integration projects: the Acefor project, which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of businesses in the formal and informal sectors through training, especially in the regions of Sikasso and Ségou; and the Imyeta project, which was launched in December 2017 and aims to improve the employability of young people in rural areas through apprenticeships. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), this project is being implemented by GRET, in partnership with the Malian NGO Association jeunesse action Mali (AJA Mali). It is worth noting that this is the first collaboration between GRET and Norad.
What are the main challenges in the future for GRET in Mali?
Several challenges have already been identified. They consist in particular of gaining greater knowledge of the development context in Mali, organising the new representation and consolidating the team, building strategic partnerships – in particular with structures at State, decentralised, civil society and private sector levels – in order to create a diversified network from which GRET can draw support to implement its actions. Lastly, we need to continue GRET’s action in the areas of employment, vocational training and professional integration, and to diversify its activities in other areas in order to respond to the various challenges Mali is facing.