Coat of Arms
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
»Unitary semi-presidential Republic
»1,240,192 km2 (24th)
» Per capita -$1,100
» Per capita -$631
»West African CFA franc (XOF)
Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako.
Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers.
The country’s economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.
Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire.
During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation.
The Central Bank of West African States handles the financial affairs of Mali and additional members of the Economic Community of West African States. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average worker’s annual salary is approximately US$1,500.
Mali underwent economic reform, beginning in 1988 by signing agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. During 1988 to 1996, Mali’s government largely reformed public enterprises. Since the agreement, sixteen enterprises were privatized, 12 partially privatized, and 20 liquidated. In 2005, the Malian government conceded a railroad company to the Savage Corporation. Two major companies, Societé de Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) and the Cotton Ginning Company (CMDT), were expected to be privatized in 2008.
Between 1992 and 1995, Mali implemented an economic adjustment program that resulted in economic growth and a reduction in financial imbalances. The program increased social and economic conditions and led to Mali joining the World Trade Organization on 31 May 1995.
Mali is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). The gross domestic product (GDP) has risen since. In 2002, the GDP amounted to US$3.4 billion, and increased to US$5.8 billion in 2005, which amounts to an approximately 17.6 percent annual growth rate.
Mali is a part of “French Zone” (Zone Franc), which means that it uses CFA franc. Mali is connected with the French government by agreement since 1962 (creation of BCEAO). Today all seven countries of BCEAO (including Mali) are connected to French Central Bank.
Top 5 Products imported by Mali
- Refined Petroleum (22%),
- Cement (4.7%),
- Packaged Medicaments (3.7%),
- Telephones (3.4%),
- Rice (2.3%)
Top 5 Import origins of Mali
- Senegal (20%),
- France (12%),
- China (11%),
- Cote d’Ivoire (8.2%),
- Benin (4.4%)
Like an exquisite sandcastle formed in a harsh desert landscape, Mali is blessed by an extraordinary amount of beauty, wonders, talents and knowledge.
Yet for now, it’s landscapes, monuments, mosques and music bars are off-limits, sealed from tourists by a conflict that is threatening the culture of this remarkable country.
The beating heart of Mali is Bamako, where Ngoni and Kora musicians play to crowds of dancing Malians from all ethnicities, while in the Dogon country, villages still cling to the cliffs as they did in ancient times.
Further west, Fula women strap silver jewellery to their ears and their belongings to donkeys, forming caravans worthy of beauty pageants as they make their way across the Hamada (dry, dusty scrubland).
And in the northeast, the writings of ancient African civilizations remain locked in the beautiful libraries of Timbuktu until a new dawn comes for Mali, and they – and it – can be rediscovered by travellers.
- Tragically, the famous shrines of Timbuktu and the Muhave have been largely destroyed by a radical Islamist group during their occupation of Timbuktu.
- The first round of destruction was carried out around June-July 2012 article and shortly after plans for the AU intervention were approved, they vowed to destroy every remaining mausoleum, shrine, & “blasphemous” (in their view) icon News.
- The tomb of Askia in Gao has also reportedly been destroyed.
- There is talk of rebuilding these sites after the rebels have been routed, but for now what is—arguably—Mali’s greatest attraction lies in ruins.