More than €3bn in reconstruction aid for the 2013-2014 period was pledged to part of the Sahel region at a Mali Donors' Conference held in Brussels on May 15, reports Germany daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. This is "significantly more than the €2bn initially expected," the daily adds.

Principal donors include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the United States, the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

The money will be used to reconstruct the economic and social framework damaged during the war currently underway against Islamic militias in Northern Mali, providing funds to the agriculture and infrastructure sectors, FAZ says.

Another German daily, Süddeutsche Zeitung, however, notes that what Mali needs, first and foremost, is a government formed after democratic elections, currently scheduled for July, and that in Brussels –

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very few people have illusions that the Malian state is capable of pulling itself up by its bootstraps any time soon. It will be many years before its fragmented and poorly-qualified army will be able to replace the [United Nations'] Blue Helmets or the French special forces.

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