Case Examples

Country Assessments: Africa

Burkina Faso | Cameroon | Cote D’Ivoire | Ghana | Mali | Namibia | Senegal | Swaziland | Tanzania | Zambia
Information Source: Mali: Country Assessment Report.
The World Bank, AFTU 1 & 2. January 2002.
Ghana Map Location Photo - Mali

Context Summary

Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an estimated per capita income in 2000 of US$240, with population estimated at 10.6 million. Population density is 8.7 persons per square kilometer. The economy is predominantly agricultural, and crops depend almost entirely on irrigation or flooding from the Niger River, as 65 percent of the land is in desert or semi-desert areas. Past droughts set off waves of migration to urban areas, mainly to Bamako.

Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and is vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export. According the Human Development Index (HDI), Mali is ranked 165th out of the 174 countries listed by UNDP in 2000. Life expectancy is estimated at 42.6 years.

The urban population has grown at an annual average of rate of 5.2 percent between 1970 and 1995 and at 3.1 million makes up about 30 percent of the population. The main cities are Bamako, the capital district, with a population of 1,016,000 and five secondary cities between 50,000 and 100,000. The other cities in Mali have fewer than 40,000 inhabitants.

In Bamako 45 percent of the population lives in precarious settlements because of difficulty tin accessing urban land; limited production of new plots; and high prices of serviced plots. Insecurity of land tenure has led low investment in the informal settlements.

Mali's District of Bamako instituted 'Save Our Neighborhood', an informal settlement upgrading program, one year after the democratic election of 1992. Cost recovery proved to be a major hurdle. Only token amounts were charged for the right to settle on unoccupied land, and the government did not readily accept the proposed World Bank policy of cost recovery, service levels and construction standards for serviced plots, and size and shape of the plots.

Lessons from Recent Projects - Summary

Weakness of the 'Save Our Neighborhood' program

  • No national political support as in Burkina Faso and Senegal.
  • Lack of upgrading experience. A pilot project would have been necessary in order to prepare the tools to implement the program on a large scale.

General lessons:

Institutional Framework

  • Absence of transparency in compiling the list of beneficiaries slowed the program and was a source of land speculation.
  • When the Committees' activities were not transparent and/or seemed questionable, they become an obstacle to the projects.
  • Transparency in land allocation was not enough to control the assignment of plots. Confusion regarding the roles of the District, the Municipalities, and the National Directorate of Property Tax led to the double assignment of some of the plots and the number of beneficiaries was greater than originally established.

Urban Upgrading and Land Legalization

  • Land speculation is the main problem in upgrading.
  • Land control is needed before the start of upgrading activities. The SNQ work started in 1993 without true control of the land in the informal settlements or in the resettlement zones.
  • Upgrading technical procedures are complex and technical specifications need to be established and respected. The size of the plots was greater than originally planned. In general, there was no legalization of tenure.
  • Ensure coordination between the government agencies and various parties involved. Plots were assigned and the letters of attribution were delivered before the plot plans were implemented, which made it difficult for the beneficiaries to recognize their plots. The resettlement zones were occupied in an anarchic way, which obstructed upgrading of some quarters.

Financial Aspects

  • The mobilization of funds to provide services was insufficient.
  • Only the displaced stakeholders paid for the land in order to obtain the letter of attribution; residents who stayed in the former squatter area did not pay. Resettled people felt less secure about their land occupancy than the inhabitants in upgrading areas did. When the possibility of being displaced is reduced, the population is less interested in receiving the title to the land, especially when the process of upgrading is on-going.

Cost Recovery

  • Cost recovery is difficult when there are no visible investments to improve the neighborhoods. Contributions received by the District and the Municipalities were small and utilized for objectives other than upgrading areas.

For more information:
Click on:
Foreword and Overview
1. Problems and Context
2. Current Situation
3. Policy Context and Institutional Framework
4. Upgrading Projects and Programs
5. Case Study
6. Lessons Learned
7. Challenges and Proposed Next Steps
Annex A: Country and City Profiles
Annex B: Bibliography
Annex C: Contact Information

Download for Printing:
Download Report (Acrobat PDF file, 17 k)

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