7 June 2005
Press Release For Immediate Release


Bamako, Mali, 07 June 2005 - Following the signature of the Founding Agreement between the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and its West African subsidiary IPS (WA) – the Strategic Partner – and the Mali government on 25 February 2005, and the formal establishment of the Compagnie Aérienne du Mali on 5 April 2005, the airline today conducts its first demonstration flight on the Bamako-Mopti-Gao section, in the presence of a number of leading political and public figures, AKFED representatives and private Malian investors.

“Today is one of great joy for the Aga Khan Development Network, as this long-awaited and much cherished project of His Excellency the President, Amadou Toumani Touré, the government and the people of Mali, is brought to fruition. This airline will open up the country both internally and externally, and will enable the AKDN to contribute to its development as a cultural and holiday destination,” states Mr Ferid Nandjee, Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Mali .

Following an international invitation to tender, the Mali government appointed AKFED and its West African subsidiary Industrial Promotion Services ( West Africa ) - IPS (WA) – to create a new airline company. 51% of the capital of CFA francs 3 billion (around US$5.6 million) is held by a company set up for the purpose by AKFED/ IPS (WA), the strategic partner, 29 % by private investors and 20 % by the Mali government.

“Since the founding of the company on 5 April,” declares Mr Bertrand Rivet, the airline’s Managing Director, “the management team appointed by the Board of Directors on 12 April 2005 has been unstinting in its efforts and has taken all the necessary steps for the effective operation of the company – technically, materially and particularly in recruiting personnel, with priority being given to launching domestic flights.”

“We recruited the necessary personnel for the launch of the company by advertising in the press,” continues Mr Rivet. As regards recruitment criteria, Mr Yves Lavigne, Director of Aviation Affairs, states that “after undergoing a rigorous selection process, interviews and physical aptitude tests, twenty-two male and female flight attendants were recruited. They have already completed the first stage of training.”

Mr Marc Rochet, Head of AKFED’s Aviation Services Division explains that the new airline’s aim is to rebuild Mali’s internal aviation network (Mopti, Kayes, Timbuktu, Gao) operated by the DASH 8 aircraft used for the demonstration flight on 7 June. Then, from the first week of July, a long-haul Airbus will make intercontinental flights to Paris-Orly. Flights linking West Africa’s regional capitals will be introduced in September.

AKFED, which has operated in West Africa since the mid-1960s, is an economic development agency recognised for its talent for creating and sustaining projects in priority sectors and clearly defined geographic areas in the region. Its approach is based on a precise understanding of local conditions and a commitment to the development of human resources, technology and social assistance programmes aimed at increasing economic efficiency and productivity and, in a broader sense, at promoting social development.

AKFED’s involvement in the management of an aviation infrastructure in Mali continues a series of new initiatives put in place by the AKDN, specifically in the areas of health, education, micro-finance, and cultural and rural development. As part of its cultural activities, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture is at present engaged in the rehabilitation of the Great Mosque of Mopti and will enter into the second stage of works in September 2005.

For further information, please contact:
Ferid Nandjee
Aga Khan Development Network ( Mali )
B.P.E 2998
Bamako, Mali
Tel. : +223 222 06 95/222 08 63
Fax: +223 222 34 66

The Department of Public Affairs
60270 Gouvieux, France
Telephone: +
Fax: +


The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational institutions and development agencies whose aim is to improve living conditions and future prospects for communities, regardless of religion or origin, in specific regions of the developing world, notably in Asia and Africa.

AKFED is the AKDN’s economic development agency. Its companies have been active in East Africa since 1936, expanding over subsequent decades into Central and West Africa . AKFED operates in the fields of industry, financial services, development of tourism, infrastructure, media and aviation in 19 countries of South and Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The fund operates in the form of a network of affiliated organisations comprising more than 100 project companies, employing 18,000 staff and managing assets in excess of US$1.5 billion. AKFED has been present in West Africa ( Ivory Coast , Senegal , Mali and Burkina Faso ) for more than 30 years, engaging in several areas of activity such as transport packaging and other packaging products, agro-industry and infrastructure, including aviation. Its West African subsidiary IPS (WA) controls some 20 companies employing 6,000 people. Its companies already established in Mali are Embalmali (transport packaging) and Tolmali (metals) – holding a majority stake in both – and Énergie du Mali (energy) in which it has a minority shareholding.