Prospects and risks for 2018: Impact simulation in Mali


Author: Valerio Giuffrida
November 2017

Executive Summary

Humanitarian operations in Mali are underway in all regions of the country, reaching up to 989,272 beneficiaries a month (May 2017). Part of the activities are seasonal and provide subsistence support to IDPs and vulnerable households.

Based on historical data, we developed a shock impact simulation model (SISMod) to estimate the effects on the household economy and food security of three separate shocks: a drought, seasonal flooding, and an increase in insecurity and violence. The results were examined by household characteristics, livelihoods and geographical disaggregation. The model yielded the findings summarized below.

The main channel for the transmission of the shocks is the market, suggesting poor market integration and difficulty in accessing markets. This finding is supported by the fact that the households most vulnerable to the different shocks are pastoralists and non-agricultural casual workers whose consumption depends on the markets, rather than those whose main activity is crop cultivation. Data from 2017 indicate that 3,673,000 people were food insecure during the lean season; the severely food-insecure population exceeds the number of beneficiaries reached in 2016 by 738,000 people. Macroeconomic prospects for 2018 are generally positive, but the different events simulated would change regional food security. In the event of increased insecurity, 6,553,000 people would require assistance, while drought would leave 5,234,000 in need. Flooding would see the number of food-insecure individuals rise slightly from the 2017 baseline, up to 4,033,000, with significant increases in Kayes, Mopti and Timbuktu.

The picture for severely food-insecure households is expected to change in a different way: the total number is expected to be lower in all the simulated scenarios. In the event of a drought, 600,000 would be expected to face severe food insecurity, many of them in Gao. Flooding would leave 489,000 people severely food insecurity, whereas a rise in insecurity would mainly affect food security in Mopti and would leave 545,000 people severely food insecure country-wide.

Given the large population and the vulnerability of the two regions, Mopti and Kayes should be monitored closely for these kinds of events, with some anticipatory action taken to reduce risks and integrate markets into the regional commercial system, as well as keeping local markets active.
Pastoral households are among the most vulnerable, particularly because they are dependent on scarce water resources (in the northern regions) and on market prices for staple foods. Nonetheless, their activity has a regional impact, as about one third of the total commerce of herds in West Africa are exports from Mali (See 2.3, International trade and budget).