Malian Business Leader Optimistic for Future

The situation on the ground in Mali, portrayed as disastrous by some international medias, may be closer to resolution than is generally thought.

The Vice-President of the Malian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Tahirou Sy, noted that physical and personal security is no longer an issue in the capital.  Speaking on the telephone from the central city of Segou, Sy states “That lasted a couple of days, no more.  What was more of a problem were the electricity cuts that lasted almost one month.  Many business owners including myself closed our operations rather than trying to operate with no electricity.  But now the power is OK as well”.

Mr. Sy believes that the end of May will be a turning point.  “Either the international community will allow the continued involvement of the military junta in the country’s rule, or they will no longer accept it and attack with sanctions to get them out”, says Sy.  “From there we’ll have a better idea in which direction things will go”.   Mr. Sy says a recent visit to the South African Embassy underscored this optimistic wait-and-see approach.  He was shown a list of priority projects that had previously received promises of financing or other support from South African banks and multilaterals.  The South African Embassy was willing to reiterate its support for these projects despite the current situation, saying it expects to be back to business as usual by July.

Mr. Sy, who owns a paint factory and an automotive dealership called Prestige Motors in Mali’s capital Bamako, feels he needs to be optimistic.  “One way or another, this has to get resolved soon”, he says.

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