Mali’s president announces new government officials

After being sworn in last week as Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has named the new defence mines and foreign minister.

According to a state televised announcement, Tiemoko Sangare who was previously the mines minister will serve as defense minister, while  Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga remains as prime minister and most of the 33-member Cabinet was also unchanged

Sangare’s predecessor as defence minister, Tiena Coulibaly, was moved to justice minister.

Lelenta Hawa Baba Bah was named the mines minister after having led the National Directorate of Geology and Mines. As minister, she will oversee the government’s bid to revise the mining code, potentially by reducing the length of operators’ exemptions from changes to the fiscal regime

In one of his pledges Keita declared the ‘re-establishment of peace and security’ as an absolute priority for his second term, this coming in the wake of escalating attacks by Islamist militants and clashes between herders and pastoralists that have since killed hundreds of civilians this year.

The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, alarming Western powers like France and the United States, which have deployed troops and air power across the region’s sprawling desert landscape.

Mali is Africa’s third-largest gold producer behind South Africa and Ghana, with major investors including Randgold Resources Ltd and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.