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In sanctions-hit Mali, cost of living rises

When Malians run errands, they often have to give up on certain products. Fane Tenin Berthe, a housewife, doen't even look for meat anymore.   -  
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**It’s been a month since Ecowas imposed sanctions on Mali and the purchasing power of households starts to decrease.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) hit Mali with sanctions on January 9 and one month later, the cost of living starts to weigh on the population. 

In Mahamadou Bagayoko’s shop, the stalls are full but many customers can’t afford the products. According to the Bamako wholesaler prices have risen out of commercial necessity.

Mali imports about 70 percent of its food therefore, even if the embargo doesn’t apply to basic necessities it affects the economy. "As a trader, I can see that prices have increased, there is general inflation, and there is internal inflation. Because of the general inflation, prices have increased worldwide. But the internal inflation is due to the embargo", Bagayoko explains.

If not all wholesalers try to take advantage of the situation, the National Union of Workers of Mali, one of the country's largest, recently stated that some traders are seeking to "get rich on the misfortunes of the people".

Consequently, when Malians run errands, they often have to give up on certain products. Fane Tenin Berthe, a housewife doen't even look for meat anymore: "Today, apart from vegetables, nothing is affordable in the market. Neither onions nor oil, let alone meat." However, she insists, the embargo is not the sole responsible for the price rise: "We are talking about the embargo today, but it [the price increase] started long before that."

To support Malian households, authorities have capped the prices of basics such as rice, vegetable oil and sugar.

To date, due to a lack of figures and the silence of local experts on the topic it is hard to obtain an estimate of the sanctions' impact.

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