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Mali has a challenge of putting in motion a long term process of economic growth linked with social safety nets. Only a strategy focusing on the generation, transfer, and investment of an agricultural surplus is capable of implementing this process. However, the use of productivity gains of the agro-food sector as engine for economic growth is only possible when solid links are established between the rural sector and the rest of the economy through the development of markets and infrastructure for transport, communication, and energy to attract and invest a part of these productivity gains into the other sectors of the economy. That is why the proposed strategy of economic development in this memo has three components: the growth of the agricultural productivity; the development transport, communication, and energy infrastructures; and budget decentralization. The growth of the agricultural productivity is critical to increasing the incomes of agricultural workers. Technological changes are needed for this growth. Development the national market and integrating it into regional markets, with more elastic demand, will mitigate the destabilizing effects of the strong production variations on price. There has to be a harmonization of the agricultural policies in the West African market with common taxes and common rules in terms of intellectual property and safety regulations. Infrastructure building should be the main intervention domain of the government and other regional institutions. Foreign donors must also stop looking at the deficits as the simply an indicator of mismanagement by national governments, but rather help them have better ways of tax collection so they can effective tap some of the resources from their economic growth to productively reinvest it into furthering productivity enhancement.


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