The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha 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 was elected to a second term in a 2007 election that was widely judged to be free and fair. Malian returnees from Libya in 2011 exacerbated tensions in northern Mali, and Tuareg ethnic militias rebelled in January 2012. Low- and mid-level soldiers, frustrated with the poor handling of the rebellion, overthrew TOURE on 22 March. Intensive mediation efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) returned power to a civilian administration in April with the appointment of Interim President Dioncounda TRAORE. The post-coup chaos led to rebels expelling the Malian military from the country's three northern regions and allowed Islamic militants to set up strongholds. Hundreds of thousands of northern Malians fled the violence to southern Mali and neighboring countries, exacerbating regional food shortages in host communities. An international military intervention to retake the three northern regions began in January 2013 and within a month most of the north had been retaken. In a democratic presidential election conducted in July and August of 2013, Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA was elected president. The Malian Government and northern armed groups signed an internationally-mediated peace accord in June 2015.
interior Western Africa, southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso, west of Niger
gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower
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
French (official), Bambara 46.3%, Peul/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%, unspecified 0.7%, other 6.3%
BAMAKO (capital) 2.515 million (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Republic of Mali
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Republique de Mali
- Local short form
- Geographic coordinates
- 12 39 N, 8 00 W
- Time difference
- UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 3,668,347,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -675,835,486
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 3,798,564,787
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 2,868,418,063
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 152,941,331
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 404,780,840
cotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats
food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining
- cotton, gold, livestock
- Switzerland 45.5%, India 14.4%, China 8.8%, Bangladesh 7.5%, Thailand 4.3%, Indonesia 4.1% (2015)
- petroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles
- Cote dIvoire 10%, France 9.6%, Senegal 7.7%, China 7% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A high-risk political and economic situation and an often very difficult business environment can have a very significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very high.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
- Third largest African producer of gold and cotton; livestock rearing country
- Stabilization of the political situation and drive to restructure the economy
- International aid
- Economy vulnerable to weather conditions and to commodity price fluctuations
- Fragile security situation
Activity slowed very slightly in 2016 on the back of lower growth in agricultural output. It was however driven by public investment spending and increased credit, with the commercial banks continuing to benefit from the accommodating policy of the regional central bank (BCEAO). Growth is forecast to stay at the same rate in 2017, still sustained by State investment. Meanwhile, gold production is expected to improve and then increase more strongly in the following year, thanks to production starting at two mines. This positive outlook is still subject, nonetheless, to risks associated with the fragility of the security situation and the vulnerability of agricultural production to weather conditions (the agricultural sector accounts for over a third of GDP).
The country is counting on diversifying its economy eventually thanks to its oil potential and reserves of iron ore and bauxite. Progress with this could, however, be slow due to infrastructure shortcomings, weak commodity prices and a difficult business environment.
Inflation is likely to rise slightly in 2017 as a result of the modest increase in world commodity prices.
Fiscal policy was eased, in principle temporarily, in 2016, to allow for public spending on investment and security as well as that relating to implementation of the peace agreement. The increase in the deficit was mainly financed by recourse to the domestic and regional market and a contribution from the IMF (which is supporting the government's economic program through an Extended Credit Facility). Progress has, however, been observed in reforms of the fiscal administration and management of public finances. The 2017 draft budget bill sets a target for slightly lower budget deficit due to better tax collection and the temporary nature of some investments. A gradual reduction in the deficit towards the 3% target by 2019 would allow the authorities to maintain the public debt at a sustainable level (the country benefited several years ago from substantial debt relief under the HIPC/MDR initiatives).
The current account deficit would remain relatively high in 2017 due to the increase in capital goods imports associated with the development and reconstruction projects under way and a slight increase in the oil bill, as well as in the price of food products. Exports of gold, which account for two thirds of sales of goods abroad, and those of cotton (13% of total exports) are projected to rise in connection with higher output and a slight increase in prices. The high level of public and private transfers (expatriate worker remittances) limits the extent of the current account deficit, which is mainly financed by external aid and official loans, and, to a lesser extent, by foreign direct investments.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, elected in August 2013 following the recapture of the Northern half of the country occupied by Islamist groups, thanks to French military intervention and the mobilization of the international community, is expected to remain in power until the next presidential election scheduled for late 2018.
However, the security situation is still very fragile, with the Jihadist groups not having signed up to the peace agreement in June 2015 continuing to clash with the United Nations forces (MINUSMA) and the Malian army and to carry out attacks against civilians in the north and center of the country. Moreover, quarrels within the member groups of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad and the ambiguous government's relations with the self-defense organization, the Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et alliés, two groups that are party to the agreement, are greatly slowing its implementation. The continuing insecurity could eventually affect consumer, business and donor confidence.
Meanwhile, the implementation of governance reforms continues at a slow pace, especially as regards the fight against corruption.