The water sector in Mali has experienced several waves of reforms. In 2010, after the failure of the privatization of EDM-SA (Water and Energy of Mali) that took place in the early 2000s, the Government decided to set up a new scheme in the water sector. Two companies were created, an asset holding company (SOMAPEP-SA) and a lease holding company (SOMAGEP-SA), with a tripartite contractual arrangement:
a Lease Contract (SOMAGEP-SA / SOMAPEP-SA / State) associated with a performance contract for the operation of the service for a period of 15 years;
a Concession Contract (SOMAPEP-SA / State) associated with a 30-year Plan Contract for the management of investments.
These contracts were signed in 2013 and an assessment of the reform was planned after three years to draw lessons and, if appropriate, extend the model to the electricity sector.
ICEA was mandated in November 2018 by the Ministry in charge of water and SOMAPEP-SA to conduct this assessment and propose new orientations.
Analyses show that the initial objectives are mainly achieved:
Water and electricity are now two completely independent sectors, which ended cross-subsidization and funding for the deficits in the electricity sector with the revenues from water supply services;
Substantial financing has been mobilized from international donors around the Kabala project, but also for other centers inside the country;
The contractual objectives, in particular technical performance, are mostly achieved by the two water companies;
The state did not have to subsidize the operation during the period.
However, despite the quality of the contracts, the State remains the sole shareholder of both companies, and the contractual scheme is complex and inefficient. Several options for the sector roadmap for the coming years have been proposed by ICEA.