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Financing climate adaptation in Mali: design and implementation of an integrative model

Mohamed Francis KEITA

Consultant in environmental sustainability management

Dr DBA Business Science Institute / Bamako, Mali

Emmanuel KAMDEM

University Professor

University of Douala / IME, Douala

Business Science Institute


Keywords: climate change (CC), climate adaptation (CA), sustainable development (SD), funding, diaspora, Mali.

Context and rationale

Mali is a Saharan country facing a variety of crises (climatic, energy, economic, institutional, etc.), is a fertile ground for research into the financing of climate adaptation (CA). How can local CA funding contribute to Mali's sustainable development (SD) efforts? Does the long-term involvement of the diaspora in CA funding have an impact on migration to Mali? Is the involvement of the diaspora in CA funding a factor in social cohesion? Is the financing of family farming by local populations a factor in reducing the expropriation of farmers' land? These are all relevant questions for exploring avenues of research into environmental sustainability in the African context (Kamdem, 2023). The Global Environment Facility (GEF, 2012), on which the research focuses, is an international institutional partner whose CA initiatives in Mali have shown their limitations. These limitations therefore justify the proposal of an alternative and innovative model, better grounded in the Malian context (Kamdem, Chevalier and Payaud, 2020).

Results, recommendations & impacts

The results of this DBA thesis lead to six main recommendations. (1) Strengthen the systematic involvement of the heads of decentralised local authorities and the resource persons identified in the communities, in the design of the projects carried out in their communities. (2) Inform, train and build the capacity of local populations on the threats and consequences of CC. (3) Secure more financial remittances from the Malian diaspora and direct them towards CA investment projects. (4) Create an original financial institution dedicated to the Malian diaspora, called "Banque de la Diaspora" or "WATI DÈMÈ". (5) Disseminate an entrepreneurial culture and entrepreneurial incubators for the overall support of CA projects in Mali. (6) Reform and restructure the current national and regional banking system to ensure the effective implementation of the recommendations made.

The impact of implementing these recommendations can be assessed at different levels. On a managerial level, diaspora financial remittances currently earmarked for consumer spending (mainly food) can be better structured to help finance sustainable investment projects ( electricity supply to villages; modernisation of rural water systems; agro-industrial processing of local crops; tree planting to limit encroachment of the desert; promotion of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial support for young people and women). In environmental terms, innovative CA projects can help to limit the devastating effects of CC and increasing encroachment of the desert in the country. They can also limit risky attempts at immigration and the depopulation of villages and rural communities. In institutional terms, the major impact is the need to reform the Malian national banking system and the African sub-region (ECOWAS) to transform the regulatory framework for banking activity. This should enable the creation of a local bank entirely dedicated to collecting savings from the Malian diaspora to finance CA projects.

Research foundations

Dealing with such a difficult topic, in a national context mainly characterised by its complexity (Mali), involves building a multidimensional theoretical framework at the crossroads of four disciplinary fields. Finance, to understand the mechanisms for funding CA projects (Weikmans, 2018, Nakhooda, Fransen & Kuramochi, 2013); social and environmental responsibility (CSR), to explore the implications of companies in funding CA projects (Mousel, 1999); sustainable development (SD), to analyse research perspectives on the issue in African contexts (Wong, 2020); anthropology and history, to identify knowledge and practices rooted in African cultural contexts. These include those contained in the Charter of the Traditional Mandé (Kurukan Fuga, 1236). This charter, proclaimed in the 13th century by the Malian Emperor Soundiata Keïta, has been designated by UNESCO (2009) as one of the world's intangible cultural heritage sites. One of the guiding principles of this age-old charter is the preservation of nature (Fall, 2009; Jolly, 2010).


The exploratory perspective of our empirical research required the use of pragmatist epistemology and ethnographic qualitative methodology (Diop-Sall, 2018) applied to a single case (Yin, 2009). This case, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is a perfect illustration of the inadequacies and limitations of the funding provided by international donors (in particular the World Bank). The data was collected mainly in one of Mali's rural communes (Yéréré), one of those most affected by the devastating consequences of CC. 120 semi-structured interviews were conducted with various stakeholders involved in CA projects (administrative, traditional and religious authorities; Malian citizens returning to the country after emigrating abroad; Malian citizens living abroad and wishing to return to the country). These interviews were supplemented by personal accounts obtained from 6 focus groups, mainly based on the ethnic diversity of the participants. This last factor was taken into account to reflect the ethnic pluralism of Malian society and to shed useful light on the cultural and religious contingencies of the populations targeted by the CA projects. The qualitative data was analysed using the 'general inductive approach' advocated by Thomas (2006).

The quality of the results and the scale of the impact of this thesis were recognised by the members of the Business Science Institute DBA examination panel, who selected it as one of the top 5 theses to be awarded the 2023 Managerial Impact Prize.


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Nakhooda, S., Fransen, T., Kuramochi, T., (2013). Mobilising international climate finance: Lessons from the Fast-Start Finance Period. Open Climate Network, ODI, WRI & IGES, London.

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Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications.

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