France says 3.25 billion euros pledged for Mali

Reuters News
Posted: May 15, 2013 11:46 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - International donors pledged more than 3.25 billion euros ($4.22 billion) on Wednesday to help Mali recover after a conflict with al Qaeda-linked Islamists, French President Francois Hollande said.

The sum exceeds the goals of Mali which had asked donors for nearly two billion euros for this year and next.

"It has been confirmed to me that more than 3.25 billion euros have been mobilized at this conference," Hollande said in a speech to the donors' conference in Brussels.

France and the EU led the drive for funding to rebuild Mali and halt a resurgence of al Qaeda-linked Islamists who were driven out of the major northern towns by a French-led offensive.

Large pledges of money by the EU, France, the United States, Britain and others brought the West African country over its goal to fill a funding gap in its 4.34 billion euro plan to keep the peace and build infrastructure.

"A huge part of the plan is financed so it is very good news. We are really happy. It's beyond our expectations quite frankly," one EU official said.

(Reporting by Ethan Bilby; Editing by Adrian Croft)