This satellite photo shows dozens of fires burning in the African countries of Senegal (left) and Mali (right). To the north is Mauritania. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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Introduction

Background

Present-day Mali is named after the Mali Empire that ruled the region between the 13th and 16th centuries. At its peak in the 14th century, it was the largest and wealthiest empire in West Africa and controlled an area about twice the size of modern-day France. Primarily a trading empire, Mali derived its wealth from gold and maintained several goldfields and trade routes in the Sahel. The empire also influenced West African culture through the spread of its language, laws, and customs, but by the 16th century it fragmented into mostly small chiefdoms.  The Songhai Empire, previously a Mali dependency centered in Timbuktu, gained prominence in the 15th and 16th centuries. Under Songhai rule, Timbuktu became a large commercial center and well-known for its scholarship and religious teaching. Timbuktu remains a center of culture in West Africa today. In the late 16th century, the Songhai Empire fell to Moroccan invaders and disintegrated into independent sultanates and kingdoms.

France, expanding from Senegal, seized control of the area in the 1890s and incorporated it into French West Africa as French Sudan. In 1960, French Sudan gained independence from France and became the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, the remaining area was renamed the Republic of Mali. Mali saw 31 years of dictatorship until 1991, when a military coup led by Amadou Toumani TOURE ousted the government, established a new constitution, and instituted a multi-party democracy. President Alpha Oumar KONARE won Mali's first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou Toumani TOURE, who won a second term in 2007.

In 2012, rising ethnic tensions and an influx of fighters - some linked to Al-Qa’ida - from Libya led to a rebellion and military coup. Following the coup, rebels expelled the military from the country’s three northern regions, allowing terrorist organizations to develop strongholds in the area. With French military intervention, the Malian Government managed to retake most of the north. However, the government’s grasp in the region remains weak with local militias, terrorists, and insurgent groups continuously trying to expand control. In 2015, the Malian Government and northern rebels signed an internationally mediated peace accord. Despite a June 2017 target for implementation of the agreement, the signatories have made little progress. Extremist groups were left out of the peace process, and terrorist attacks remain common.  

Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA won the Malian presidential elections in 2013 and 2018. Aside from security and logistic shortfalls, international observers deemed these elections credible. Terrorism, banditry, ethnic-based violence, and extra-judicial military killings plagued the country during KEITA’s second term. In August 2020, the military arrested KEITA, his prime minister, and other senior members of the government and established a military junta called the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). In September 2020, the junta established a transition government and appointed Bah N’DAW, a retired army officer and former defense minister, as interim president and Colonel Assimi GOITA, the coup leader and chairman of the CNSP, as interim vice president. The transition government’s charter allowed it to rule for up to 18 months before calling a general election.  

In May 2021, Colonel Assimi GOITA led a military takeover, arresting the interim president after a Cabinet shake up removed Goita’s key allies. Goita was sworn in as transition president in June 2021 and Choguel Kokalla MAIGA was sworn in as prime minister. In January 2022, ECOWAS imposed sanctions against the transition government and member states closed their borders after the transition government presented a five-year extension to the electoral calendar. ECOWAS and the transition government continue to work to negotiate an acceptable electoral calendar.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

interior Western Africa, southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso, west of Niger

Geographic coordinates

17 00 N, 4 00 W

Area

total: 1,240,192 sq km

land: 1,220,190 sq km

water: 20,002 sq km

country comparison to the world: 30

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 7,908 km

border countries (6): Algeria 1,359 km; Burkina Faso 1,325 km; Cote d'Ivoire 599 km; Guinea 1,062 km; Mauritania 2,236 km; Niger 838 km, Senegal 489 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

subtropical to arid; hot and dry (February to June); rainy, humid, and mild (June to November); cool and dry (November to February)

Terrain

mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast

Elevation

highest point: Hombori Tondo 1,155 m

lowest point: Senegal River 23 m

mean elevation: 343 m

Natural resources

gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower, note, bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin, and copper deposits are known but not exploited

Land use

agricultural land: 34.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 5.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 28.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.2% (2018 est.)

other: 55.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

3,780 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lac Faguibine - 590 sq km
note - the Niger River is the only source of water for the lake; in recent years the lake is dry

Major rivers (by length in km)

Niger (shared with Guinea [s], Niger, and Nigeria [m]) - 4,200 km; Senegal (shared with Guinea [s], Senegal, and Mauritania [m]) - 1,641 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Senegal (456,397 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lullemeden-Irhazer Basin, Taodeni-Tanezrouft Basin

Population distribution

the overwhelming majority of the population lives in the southern half of the country, with greater density along the border with Burkina Faso as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding

Geography - note

landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan

Map description

Mali map showing major cities as well as parts of surrounding countries.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Malian(s)

adjective: Malian

Ethnic groups

Bambara 33.3%, Fulani (Peuhl) 13.3%, Sarakole/Soninke/Marka 9.8%, Senufo/Manianka 9.6%, Malinke 8.8%, Dogon 8.7%, Sonrai 5.9%, Bobo 2.1%, Tuareg/Bella 1.7%, other Malian 6%, from members of Economic Community of West Africa 0.4%, other 0.3% (2018 est.)

Languages

French (official), Bambara 46.3%, Peuhl/Foulfoulbe 9.4%, Dogon 7.2%, Maraka/Soninke 6.4%, Malinke 5.6%, Sonrhai/Djerma 5.6%, Minianka 4.3%, Tamacheq 3.5%, Senoufo 2.6%, Bobo 2.1%, other 6.3%, unspecified 0.7% (2009 est.)

note: Mali has 13 national languages in addition to its official language

Religions

Muslim 93.9%, Christian 2.8%, animist 0.7%, none 2.5% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Mali’s total population is expected to double by 2035; its capital Bamako is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. A young age structure, a declining mortality rate, and a sustained high total fertility rate of 6 children per woman – the third highest in the world – ensure continued rapid population growth for the foreseeable future. Significant outmigration only marginally tempers this growth. Despite decreases, Mali’s infant, child, and maternal mortality rates remain among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa because of limited access to and adoption of family planning, early childbearing, short birth intervals, the prevalence of female genital cutting, infrequent use of skilled birth attendants, and a lack of emergency obstetrical and neonatal care.

Mali’s high total fertility rate has been virtually unchanged for decades, as a result of the ongoing preference for large families, early childbearing, the lack of female education and empowerment, poverty, and extremely low contraceptive use. Slowing Mali’s population growth by lowering its birth rate will be essential for poverty reduction, improving food security, and developing human capital and the economy.

Mali has a long history of seasonal migration and emigration driven by poverty, conflict, demographic pressure, unemployment, food insecurity, and droughts. Many Malians from rural areas migrate during the dry period to nearby villages and towns to do odd jobs or to adjoining countries to work in agriculture or mining. Pastoralists and nomads move seasonally to southern Mali or nearby coastal states. Others migrate long term to Mali’s urban areas, Cote d’Ivoire, other neighboring countries, and in smaller numbers to France, Mali’s former colonial ruler. Since the early 1990s, Mali’s role has grown as a transit country for regional migration flows and illegal migration to Europe. Human smugglers and traffickers exploit the same regional routes used for moving contraband drugs, arms, and cigarettes.

Between early 2012 and 2013, renewed fighting in northern Mali between government forces and Tuareg secessionists and their Islamist allies, a French-led international military intervention, as well as chronic food shortages, caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Malians. Most of those displaced domestically sought shelter in urban areas of southern Mali, except for pastoralist and nomadic groups, who abandoned their traditional routes, gave away or sold their livestock, and dispersed into the deserts of northern Mali or crossed into neighboring countries. Almost all Malians who took refuge abroad (mostly Tuareg and Maure pastoralists) stayed in the region, largely in Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

Age structure

0-14 years: 47.69% (male 4,689,121/female 4,636,685)

15-24 years: 19% (male 1,768,772/female 1,945,582)

25-54 years: 26.61% (male 2,395,566/female 2,806,830)

55-64 years: 3.68% (male 367,710/female 352,170)

65 years and over: 3.02% (2020 est.) (male 293,560/female 297,401)

This is the population pyramid for Mali. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 98

youth dependency ratio: 93.1

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 16 years

male: 15.3 years

female: 16.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 224

Birth rate

41.07 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Death rate

8.53 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Net migration rate

-3.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 181

Population distribution

the overwhelming majority of the population lives in the southern half of the country, with greater density along the border with Burkina Faso as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 45.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 4.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.817 million BAMAKO (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.2 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 20-49

Maternal mortality ratio

562 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

Infant mortality rate

total: 60.64 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 66.04 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 55.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 62.41 years

male: 60.19 years

female: 64.7 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Total fertility rate

5.54 children born/woman (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 75.9% of population

total: 86.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 24.1% of population

total: 13.6% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.1 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 85.7% of population

rural: 44.7% of population

total: 62.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 14.3% of population

rural: 55.3% of population

total: 37.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Tobacco use

total: 8.3% (2020 est.)

male: 15.6% (2020 est.)

female: 1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 15.9% (2018)

women married by age 18: 53.7% (2018)

men married by age 18: 2.1% (2018 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 35.5%

male: 46.2%

female: 25.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 7 years

male: 8 years

female: 7 years (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.4%

male: 2.6%

female: 2.3% (2018 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; loss of pasture land; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 31.17 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 3.18 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 19.16 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

subtropical to arid; hot and dry (February to June); rainy, humid, and mild (June to November); cool and dry (November to February)

Land use

agricultural land: 34.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 5.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 28.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.2% (2018 est.)

other: 55.7% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 45.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 4.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity:

due to civil insecurity and shortfall in staple food production - between June and August 2022, 1.84 million people are projected to face severe food insecurity, driven in part by a shortfall in staple food production in 2021; sanctions imposed on the country, following the postponement of elections by the transitional military government, are likely to slow down economic activity and further weigh on households’ economic capacity to access food

(2022)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,937,354 tons (2012 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lac Faguibine - 590 sq km
note - the Niger River is the only source of water for the lake; in recent years the lake is dry

Major rivers (by length in km)

Niger (shared with Guinea [s], Niger, and Nigeria [m]) - 4,200 km; Senegal (shared with Guinea [s], Senegal, and Mauritania [m]) - 1,641 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Senegal (456,397 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lullemeden-Irhazer Basin, Taodeni-Tanezrouft Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 107 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 4 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 5.075 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

120 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Mali

conventional short form: Mali

local long form: Republique de Mali

local short form: Mali

former: French Sudan, Sudanese Republic, Mali Federation

etymology: name derives from the West African Mali Empire of the 13th to 16th centuries A.D.

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Bamako

geographic coordinates: 12 39 N, 8 00 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name in the Bambara language can mean either "crocodile tail" or "crocodile river" and three crocodiles appear on the city seal

Administrative divisions

10 regions (regions, singular - region), 1 district*; District de Bamako*, Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Menaka, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Taoudenni, Tombouctou (Timbuktu); note - Menaka and Taoudenni were legislated in 2016, but implementation has not been confirmed by the US Board on Geographic Names

Independence

22 September 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 September (1960)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest drafted August 1991, approved by referendum 12 January 1992, effective 25 February 1992, suspended briefly in 2012

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by members of the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly and approval in a referendum; constitutional sections on the integrity of the state, its republican and secular form of government, and its multiparty system cannot be amended; note - the transition government intends to adopt a new constitution, though not schedule has been announced

Legal system

civil law system based on the French civil law model and influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Constitutional Court

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICC jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mali

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Transition President Assimi GOITA (since 7 June 2021)

note: an August 2020 coup d'etat deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA; on 21 September 2020, a group of 17 electors chosen by the Malian military junta, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) and led by Colonel Assimi GOITA, selected Bah NDAW as transition president; GOITA served as vice president of the transitional government which was inaugurated on 25 September 2020; Vice President GOITA seized power on 25 May 2021; NDAW resigned on 26 May 2021

head of government: Transition Prime Minister Choguel MAIGA (appointed by Transitional President Assimi GOITA on 7 June 2021)

note: former transition Prime Minister Moctar OUANE was arrested and detained by the military on 24 May 2021 and resigned on 26 May 2021

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 July 2018 with runoff on 12 August 2018; prime minister appointed by the president; note - on 21 February 2022, the transition government adopted a charter allowing transition authorities to rule for up to 5 years; thereafter transition President GOITA is barred from being a candidate in presidential elections.

election results: Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA elected president in second round; percent of vote - Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA (RPM) 77.6%, Soumaila CISSE (URD) 22.4%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (147 seats; members directly elected in single and multi-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed; 13 seats reserved for citizens living abroad; members serve 5-year terms)

note - the National Assembly was dissolved on 18 August 2020 following a military coup and the resignation of President KEITA; note - the transition government created a National Transition Council (CNT) whose 121 members were selected by then-transition vice president Assimi GOITA; the CNT acts as the transition government's legislative body with Malick DIAW serving as the president; in February 2022 the CNT increased the number of seats to 147 but the additional seats have not yet been filled

elections: last held on 30 March and 19 April 2020

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA composition - NA

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 19 judges organized into judicial, administrative, and accounting sections); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Ministry of Justice to serve 5-year terms; Constitutional Court judges selected - 3 each by the president, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; members serve single renewable 7-year terms

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases of high treason or criminal offenses by the president or ministers while in office); administrative courts (first instance and appeal); commercial courts; magistrate courts; labor courts; juvenile courts; special court of state security

Political parties and leaders

African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence or SADI [Oumar MARIKO]
Alliance for Democracy in Mali-Pan-African Party for Liberty, Solidarity, and Justice or ADEMA-PASJ [Tiemoko SANGARE]
Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP-Maliba [Amadou THIAM]
Alliance for the Solidarity of Mali-Convergence of Patriotic Forces or ASMA-CFP [Amadou CISSE] (vice-president, acting)
Alternative Forces for Renewal and Emergence or FARE [Modibo SIDIBE]
Convergence for the Development of Mali or CODEM [Housseyni Amion GUINDO]
Democratic Alliance for Peace or ADP-Maliba [Aliou Boubacar DIALLO]
Economic and Social Development Party or PDES [Jamille BITTAR]
Front for Democracy and the Republic or FDR (coalition of smaller opposition parties)
National Congress for Democratic Initiative or CNID [Mountaga TALL]
Party for National Renewal or PARENA [Tiebile DRAME]
Patriotic Movement for Renewal or MPR [Choguel Kokalla MAIGA]
Rally for Mali or RPM [Boucary TRETA]
Union for Republic and Democracy or URD [Younoussi TOURE]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU (suspended), CD, ECOWAS (suspended), EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNOPS, UN Women, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, World Bank Group, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (designate) Sékou BERTHE (since April 2022)

chancery: 2130 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-2249

FAX: [1] (202) 332-6603

email address and website:
infos@mali.embassy.us

https://www.maliembassy.us/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dennis B. HANKINS (since 15 March 2019)

embassy: ACI 2000, Rue 243, (located off the Roi Bin Fahad Aziz Bridge west of the Bamako central district), Porte 297, Bamako

mailing address: 2050 Bamako Place, Washington DC  20521-2050

telephone: [223] 20-70-23-00

FAX: [223] 20-70-24-79

email address and website:
ACSBamako@state.gov

https://ml.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the same as those of neighboring Senegal (which has an additional green central star) and the reverse of those on the flag of neighboring Guinea

National symbol(s)

Great Mosque of Djenne; national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "Le Mali" (Mali)

lyrics/music: Seydou Badian KOUYATE/Banzoumana SISSOKO

note: adopted 1962; also known as "Pour L'Afrique et pour toi, Mali" (For Africa and for You, Mali) and "A ton appel Mali" (At Your Call, Mali)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (3 cultural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Old Towns of Djenné (c), Timbuktu (c), Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) (m), Tomb of Askia (c)

Economy

Economic overview

Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, landlocked Mali depends on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. The country's fiscal status fluctuates with gold and agricultural commodity prices and the harvest; cotton and gold exports make up around 80% of export earnings. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid.

 

Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River; about 65% of Mali’s land area is desert or semidesert. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. The government subsidizes the production of cereals to decrease the country’s dependence on imported foodstuffs and to reduce its vulnerability to food price shocks.

 

Mali is developing its iron ore extraction industry to diversify foreign exchange earnings away from gold, but the pace will depend on global price trends. Although the political coup in 2012 slowed Mali’s growth, the economy has since bounced back, with GDP growth above 5% in 2014-17, although physical insecurity, high population growth, corruption, weak infrastructure, and low levels of human capital continue to constrain economic development. Higher rainfall helped to boost cotton output in 2017, and the country’s 2017 budget increased spending more than 10%, much of which was devoted to infrastructure and agriculture. Corruption and political turmoil are strong downside risks in 2018 and beyond.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$44.89 billion (2020 est.)

$45.64 billion (2019 est.)

$43.57 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 116

Real GDP growth rate

5.4% (2017 est.)

5.8% (2016 est.)

6.2% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

Real GDP per capita

$2,200 (2020 est.)

$2,300 (2019 est.)

$2,300 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 210

GDP (official exchange rate)

$17.508 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.9% (2018 est.)

1.8% (2017 est.)

1.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Caa1 (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 41.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 18.1% (2017 est.)

services: 40.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 82.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 19.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 22.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -41.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

maize, rice, millet, sorghum, mangoes/guavas, cotton, watermelons, green onions/shallots, okra, sugar cane

Industries

food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 80%

industry and services: 20% (2005 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.4%

male: 2.6%

female: 2.3% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.5%

highest 10%: 25.8% (2010 est.)

Budget

revenues: 3.075 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.513 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

35.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

36% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$886 million (2017 est.)

-$1.015 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Exports

$4.18 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2.803 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 66%, Switzerland 26% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, cotton, sesame seeds, lumber, vegetable oils/residues (2019)

Imports

$6.08 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$3.403 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Imports - partners

Senegal 23%, Cote d'Ivoire 15%, China 11%, France 9% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, clothing and apparel, packaged medicines, cement, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$647.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$395.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Debt - external

$4.192 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$3.981 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

605.3 (2017 est.)

593.01 (2016 est.)

593.01 (2015 est.)

591.45 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 50% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 78% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 28% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 281,638 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 25,315,598 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Mali’s telecom systems are challenged by recent conflict, geography, areas of low population, poverty, security issues, and high illiteracy; telecom infrastructure is barely adequate in urban areas and not available in most of the country with underinvestment in fixed-line networks; high mobile penetration and potential for mobile broadband service; local plans for IXP; dependent on neighboring countries for international bandwidth and access to submarine cables; there are Chinese investment agreements for infrastructure; importer of broadcasting equipment from China (2020)

domestic: fixed-line subscribership is over 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership has increased sharply to 125 per 100 persons; increasing use of local radio loops to extend network coverage to remote areas (2020)

international: country code - 223; satellite communications center and fiber-optic links to neighboring countries; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Indian Ocean) (2020)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation is slow; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

national public TV broadcaster; 2 privately owned companies provide subscription services to foreign multi-channel TV packages; national public radio broadcaster supplemented by a large number of privately owned and community broadcast stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 5,467,725 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 27% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 243,806 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.2 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 0 (2020)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 8

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 17

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 5 (2021)

Heliports

2 (2021)

Railways

total: 593 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 593 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 111

Waterways

1,800 km (2011) (downstream of Koulikoro; low water levels on the River Niger cause problems in dry years; in the months before the rainy season the river is not navigable by commercial vessels)

country comparison to the world: 43

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Koulikoro (Niger)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Malian Armed Forces (FAMa): Army (Armee de Terre; includes a riverine patrol force), Republic of Mali Air Force (Force Aerienne de la Republique du Mali, FARM); National Gendarmerie; National Guard (Garde National du Mali) (2022)

note(s) - the Gendarmerie and the National Guard are under the authority of the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs (Ministere De La Defense Et Des Anciens Combattants, MDAC), but operational control is shared between the MDAC and the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection

- the Gendarmerie's primary mission is internal security and public order; its duties also include territorial defense, humanitarian operations, intelligence gathering, and protecting private property, mainly in rural areas; as of 2021, the Gendarmerie was comprised of approximately 8 paramilitary companies and a mobile intervention unit

- the National Guard is a military force responsible for providing security to government facilities and institutions, prison service, public order, humanitarian operations, some border security, and intelligence gathering; as of 2021, it had approximately 8 companies of troops, including a camel corps for patrolling the deserts and borders of northern Mali

- there are also pro-government militias operating in Mali, such as the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group and Allies (GATIA)

Military expenditures

3.5% of GDP (2021 est.)

3.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

3.1% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $630 million)

3.1% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $600 million)

3.2% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $600 million)

country comparison to the world: 27

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 16,000 active personnel (15,000 Army; 1,000 Air Force); estimated 10-15,000 Gendarmerie and National Guard (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAMa's inventory consists primarily of Soviet-era equipment, although in recent years it has received limited quantities of mostly second-hand armaments from more than a dozen countries, including Russia (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service (men and women); 2-year conscript service obligation (2022)

Military deployments

until announcing its withdrawal in May of 2022, Mali was part of a five-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5 Sahel Group, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger; Mali had committed 1,100 troops and 200 gendarmes to the force (2022)

Military - note

prior to the coup in August 2020 and military takeover in May 2021, the Malian military had intervened in the political arena at least five times since the country gained independence in 1960; two attempts failed (1976 and 1978), while three succeeded in overturning civilian rule (1968, 1991, and 2012); the military collapsed in 2012 during the fighting against Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants; it has been since rebuilt, but continues to have limited capabilities and is heavily reliant on external assistance

as of 2022, Malian security forces were actively conducting operations against several separatist insurgent and terrorist groups, particularly in the central and northern regions of the country where the government was reportedly in control of an estimated 10-20% of the territory

the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has operated in the country since 2013; the Mission's responsibilities include providing security, rebuilding Malian security forces, protecting civilians, supporting national political dialogue, and assisting in the reestablishment of Malian government authority; as of February 2022, MINUSMA had around 14,000 personnel deployed

the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM-M) and the French military (under a separate, bi-lateral mission) have also operated in the country since 2013; the EUTM-M provides advice and training to the Malian Armed Forces and military assistance to the G5 Sahel Joint Force; as 2021, the mission included almost 700 personnel from 25 European countries; as of early 2022, the French had approximately 2,400 troops providing military assistance and conducting counter-terrorism/counter-insurgency operations; note - in February 2022, France and European members of the French-led Task Force Takuba announced they would remove their personnel from Mali, citing obstructions from the ruling military government; in April of 2022, the EU said it would halt its training program in Mali

in December 2021, the Malian military government contracted with a Russian private military company to provide training for local armed forces and security to senior Malian officials (2022)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Ansar al-Dine; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the Greater Sahara; Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin; al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Mali-Burkina Faso: demarcation is underway with Burkina Faso

 

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 22,051 (Burkina Faso), 14,950 (Mauritania), 13,585 (Niger) (2022)

IDPs: 370,548 (Tuareg rebellion since 2012) (2022)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; women and girls are forced into domestic servitude, agricultural labor, and support roles in gold mines, as well as subjected to sex trafficking; Malian boys are found in conditions of forced labor in agricultural settings, gold mines, and the informal commercial sector, as well as forced begging in Mali and neighboring countries; Malians and other Africans who travel through Mali to Mauritania, Algeria, or Libya in hopes of reaching Europe are particularly at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking; men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali; some members of Mali's Tuareg community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices, and this involuntary servitude reportedly has extended to their children; reports indicate that non-governmental armed groups operating in northern Mali recruited children as combatants, cooks, porters, guards, spies, and sex slaves; slaveholders use some members of the Tuareg community in hereditary servitude where communities rather than individuals or families exploit the enslaved

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Mali does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; government efforts included prosecuting hereditary slavery cases, increasing convictions, continuing training and awareness raising activities, releasing all children associated with the Malian armed forces (FAMa) to an international organization for care, training law enforcement officials on protection of children in armed conflict, identifying 215 children used by armed groups and referring them to international organizations for care; however, the government did not stop all use of children in the FAMa; the government continued to provide support to and collaborate with the Imghad Tuareg and the Allies Self-Defense Group, which recruited and used child soldiers; authorities did not investigate any suspects for child soldier offenses or make efforts to prevent it; law enforcement lacked resources and training about human trafficking; services for victims remained insufficient; therefore, Mali was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2020)

Illicit drugs

a transit point for illicit drugs trafficked to Europe; trafficking controlled by armed groups, criminal organizations, terrorist groups and government officials that facilitate, protect and profit from the activity