Clean Mali: Improving sanitation and strengthening the circular economy

Project description

Title: Solid waste and wastewater programme ‘Clean Mali’
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mali
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Sanitation, Solid Waste and Sustainable Development (Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Assainissement et du Développement Durable, MEADD)
Overall term: 2022 to 2023

A waste sorting team was hired via cash-for-work to clean the streets in a neighbourhood in Mountougoula.


Mali has set ambitious goals for sustainable climate policy in its national development strategy, particularly relating to water, sanitation and waste management. While access to drinking water is steadily improving, the country is still falling far short of expectations when it comes to municipal services involving wastewater and waste management. This is mainly due to the faltering decentralisation process and slow infrastructure development.

The overall situation is a particular burden for women, who are traditionally responsible for household latrines and waste. Improper disposal causes serious environmental problems and puts water resources at risk. At the same time, valuable raw materials are not being sorted from waste for recycling. There is a lack of regulatory structures, funding and well-qualified skilled workers.

A woman wears a uniform MaliSanya t-shirt.


Sanitation and the circular economy are improved and more sustainable for 40 per cent of residents in the provincial centres of municipalities involved in the project.


To create better conditions for waste and wastewater management, the project works with the Ministry of Environment and its specialist agencies. The focus in on local cooperation with 27 municipalities.

The project supports local administrative associations in implementing sanitation and waste management reference projects. Specialist organisations such as the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) provide assistance in commissioning new waste plants. Additional partners are the Mali Ministry of Employment and the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences, which ensure the transfer of knowledge to training institutions in Mali so that the lessons learned can be applied elsewhere in the country.

At the same time, the project supports small companies in leveraging sorted waste through recycling. This is decisive for closing gaps in the circular economy and promoting employment. Young entrepreneurs and women receive particular support here.

Last update: February 2022

A sewage and faecal sludge treatment plant with various treatment components

Additional information