International donors pledged $453 million to fund military operations in Mali at a donor’s conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday. While the money should cover the estimated annual budget for the African-led Support Mission for Mali (Afisma), it falls short of the sums require to retrain Mali’s shattered army.
The African Union (A.U.) and Economic Community for West African States (Ecowas) have estimated that the African-led Support Mission for Mali (Afisma) will require an annual budget for $ 460 million, while $360 million will be necessary to retrain and equip the Malian Army.
In 2012, Islamist rebels gained control of nearly two-thirds of the country. Earlier this month, the rebels came within 50 km of capturing the key army base of Sevare, prompting a French military intervention to prop up the regime in Bamako.
On Sunday, French and Malian forces regained control of Timbuktu after a three-week military campaign by French jets, helicopters, and ground forces.
The French government has repeatedly called for the deployment of an African-led force to consolidate the gains made by French forces.
At the conference, the A.U. pledged to contribute $50 million towards Afisma; Ecowas pledged $10 million; the United States offered $96 million; the European Union (EU) pledged $67 million; and Japan offered $120 million.
Diplomats in Bamako maintain that the retraining of the Malian army is necessary for the long-term stability of the country.
Last summer, the army deposed the elected government of Amadou Toumani Toure, heralding a period of political and military uncertainty. While the military has returned to the barracks and an interim government has been installed, the country is yet to elect a new government.