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In the fight to tackle poverty in Mali, the country's national statistical office, INSTAT, with support from partners Statistics Sweden, have adapted the country's household survey to better reflect the situation of Malians in all regions of the country. These data have enabled policy makers to support citizens through subsidising electricity and goods.

Poverty in Mali has been made worse by conflict

Mali’s progress towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goals is slow and even stagnating in some areas, and poverty is a particular concern with a large part of the population affected.

Since 2012, Mali has experienced insecurity and conflict, especially in the northern and central parts of the country. In this situation, it is essential to have a picture of the affected areas, including what impact the conflict is having on economic development, social welfare and environment.

Collecting data on the country’s situation is a fundamental prerequisite for being able to give adequate support to households and individuals.

Photo of a pink walled concrete house overlooking a lake, around sunset in Mali

Adapting the household survey to highlight different needs

As Mali and its partners work to identify, define and measure poverty in the country, revising the household survey EMOP (Enquête Modulaire et Permanente auprès des Ménages) has been vital in ensuring that people living in regions that are difficult to access also are reflected. EMOP is also an important source of input for the country’s economic indicators, for instance for national accounts and prices.

With international support, the national statistical institute of Mali (INSTAT) has succeeded in calculating estimates for all regions in the country in the household survey EMOP, including those that are hard-to-reach. In addition, a module has been developed that takes into account peace and security when monitoring the household living conditions and the population.

The indicators in the survey include education, health, employment, migration, peace, security, and governance. EMOP data thus gives a clearer picture of the demographic and socio-economic aspects of the Malian population and gives a basis for policy makers to formulate targets and actions in the context of development. Furthermore, as most of the data is sex disaggregated, the survey also sheds light on the situation of women and girls and men and boys in the country.

How are the national government and international partners using the survey data?

On a national level, the most important examples of use are monitoring progress to the development goals of Mali stated in the Strategic Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development (CREDD) along with monitoring the SDGs of Agenda 2030 and the African Union Agenda of 2063. For instance, the poverty indicators (monetary, non-monetary and multidimensional) are calculated using data from EMOP. The main users of data from EMOP include international organisations (such as the UN and the World Bank), national institutes and public services, and researchers. The government of Mali is naturally a regular user of data from the survey to be able to implement various programmes and actions to ensure better living conditions for the people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMOP data, together with other sources, enabled households that needed government support to be targeted. For example, free electricity was provided by loading the prepaid meters of selected households. In addition, the data has been used by the government to subsidise imported products of high consumption to avoid a decline in household purchasing power in times of crises.

How do Statistics Sweden and INSTAT work together?

Statistics Sweden has been cooperating with and supporting INSTAT for over ten years and one of the main interventions is related to the capacity building of EMOP. The survey has been carried out every year except for one since 2012, and each household is interviewed four times a year, which is quite unique in Africa. Throughout the years, EMOP has thus created a significant flow of statistical information available to users through the production of progress reports and annual reports. Statistics Sweden has also given technical support to the staff of social statistics at INSTAT to improve the methodology of the survey further, for instance in sampling, analysing the results and harmonising the survey with international surveys.

About Swedish development co-operation

For 40 years, Statistics Sweden has been offering its expertise to statistical institutes and statistical systems in low and middle-income countries throughout the world. The purpose is to contribute to enhance the quality of the statistics and to make it more accessible for the users. The cooperation projects span over several years and include support on specific statistical subjects, statistical method, IT quality issues as well as management of statistical processes and organisation. Statistics Sweden is one of the largest actors within the Swedish development cooperation aimed at public agencies. The projects are largely financed by the Swedish foreign aid budget through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).


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