EU-LISTCO Country Report (2020)
This report details the unique challenges posed to the external action of the EU and its member states by Mali, a land-locked country in West Africa spanning mountainous, desert, and tropical terrains. Historical, geographic, economic, and contemporary sociopolitical factors have created vast areas of limited statehood (ALS) in Mali. Although non-state and international actors have partly replaced the Malian government reasonably well in some of these areas, fostering effective governance in areas of limited statehood like Mali remains a critical challenge for EU foreign policy. Figure 1 highlights Mali’s location relative to the European continent—albeit removed geographically from Europe, Mali connects to Europe via land and sea routes. Moreover, Mali has struggled with the rise of domestic and transnational non-state actors that have sought to upend the existing political and legal order. Whereas some of these actors fundamentally question the legitimacy of the concept of a liberal international order with secular, democratic states, others merely reject the authority of certain segments of the Malian government. Both sources of contested orders (CO) present significant hurdles for the EU. The challenge incumbent upon EU foreign policy is to foster conditions in which contestation can occur peacefully within a liberal democratic framework that does not contribute to the breakdown of governance or violent conflict.