Mali has a great wealth of natural resources, including water resources. It has several rivers including the Niger, one of Africa's largest rivers that traverses the country. Yet, country-wide, opportunities for irrigated agriculture are shrinking because of the lack of sufficient water everywhere, regional and temporal shortages of water, deteriorating soil quality and the lack of infrastructure to transport the water that is available.
Food security and integrated water resources management are high on the development cooperation agenda of the Netherlands Embassy in Mali. One of the most important programmes in Mali is the Programme Conjoint d'Appui à la Gestion Integrée de l'Eau, PCA-GIRE. The PCA-GIRE is a cooperation between the Dutch, Swedish and Malian governments. It aims to further implement good water governance within Mali and improve river basin management of the Niger river.
In the policy note of Ms Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and the Sahel region are specifically identified as focus regions for foreign policy. This will boost the cooperation on water between Mali and the Netherlands. In its role in the Water Support Programme, NWP strengthens the water relationship between the Netherlands and Mali and stimulates cooperation with the country. NWP organises the Country Platform Mali to inform the Dutch water sector on the developments in Mali and to stimulate cooperation on water management between both countries.