BRUSSELS – Representatives of 103 countries and organizations are meeting in Brussels to consider the rebuilding of the west African country of Mali as a viable state rather than a safe haven for terrorists.
The objective is to raise 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) as part of a 4.3-billion-euro ($5.58-billion) plan to recreate Mali as a stable democracy.
As the conference opened Wednesday, Mali's finance minister, Tiena Coulibaly, said the country's crisis, which began in 2012 with a rebellion followed by a coup, had grave consequences for Malians as hotels stand empty and trade and the economy in general has collapsed.
"This has led to poverty — extreme poverty — to unemployment and the occurrence of disease," Coulibaly said.
Those in attendance Wednesday include 10 heads of state or government.