Mali officially the Republic of Mali is a landlocked nation in Western Africa. Mali is the seventh largest country in Africa, bordering Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Cote d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west.

Background History

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 - led by the current president Amadou Toure - enabling Mali's emergence as one of the strongest democracies on the continent. President Alpha Konare won Mali's first democratic presidential election in 1992 and was reelected in 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, Konare stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou Toure, who was subsequently elected to a second term in 2007. The elections were widely judged to be free and fair.


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 and Sudanese Republic


  • name: Bamako
  • population: 1,628,000
  • geographic coordinates: 12 39 N, 8 00 W
  • time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 22 September 1960 (from France)

Government Type:

  • Republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Amadou Toumani Toure (since 8 June 2002)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Cisse Mariam Kaidama Sidibe (since 3 April 2011)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court

People & Society


  • 14,533,511 (global rank: 68)
  • growth rate: 2.613% (global rank: 22)


  • noun: Malian(s)
  • adjective: Mali

Major Cities:

  • Bamako (capital): 1.628 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%


  • Muslim 90%, Christian 1%, indigenous beliefs 9%


  • French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 53.06 years (global rank: 206)
  • male: 51.43 years
  • female: 54.73 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 109.08 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 3)
  • male: 115.85 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 102.11 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 1%(2009 est.) (global rank: 48)
  • people living with AIDS: 76,000 (2009 est.) (global rank: 47)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 46.4%
  • male: 53.5%
  • female: 39.6%


Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country highly dependent on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. The country's fiscal status fluctuates with gold and agricultural commodity prices and the harvest. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River and about 65% of its 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 in 2011 completed an IMF extended credit facility program that has helped the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali is developing its cotton and iron ore extraction industries to diversify foreign exchange revenue away from gold. Mali has invested in tourism but security issues are hurting the industry. Mali experienced economic growth of about 5% per year between 1996-2010.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $18.26 billion (global rank: 132)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $1,300 (global rank: 202)
  • real growth rate: 5.3% (global rank: 64)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 38.8%, industry: 21.9%, services: 39.3%


  • currency: Communaute Financiere Africain Franc (XOF)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 473.3


  • population below poverty line: 36.1%
  • unemployment rate: 30%

Agricultural Products:

  • cotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats


  • food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining

Exports Commodities:

  • cotton, gold, livestock

Imports Commodities:

  • petroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles



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


  • total: 1,240,192 sq km (global rank: 24)
  • land: 1,220,190 sq km
  • water: 20,002 sq km
  • comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas


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

Land Use:

  • arable land: 3.76%
  • permanent crops: 0.03%
  • other: 96.21%

Natural Resources:

  • gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower

Current Environmental Issues:

  • deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: demarcation is underway with Burkina Faso
  • refugees (country of origin): 6,300 (Mauritania)
  • human trafficking: Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; within Mali, 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 both within Mali and neighboring countries; boys from Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, and other countries are forced into begging and exploited for labor; adult men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to the longstanding practice of debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali; some members of Mali's black Tamachek community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices rooted in hereditary master-slave relationships, and this involuntary servitude reportedly has extended to their children

Published: Monday, September 08, 2008