Facts about Mali

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MaliThe 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.

Geography of Mali

Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
17 00 N, 4 00 W
total: 1.24 million sq km
water: 20,000 sq km
land: 1.22 million sq km
Area comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 7,243 km
border countries: Algeria 1,376 km, Burkina Faso 1,000 km, Guinea 858 km, Cote d'Ivoire 532 km, Mauritania 2,237 km, Niger 821 km, Senegal 419 km
0 km (landlocked)
subtropical to arid; hot and dry February to June; rainy, humid, and mild June to November; cool and dry November to February
mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Senegal River 23 m
highest point: Hombori Tondo 1,155 m
Natural resources:
gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, hydropower
note: bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin, and copper deposits are known but not exploited
Natural hazards:
hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding
Environment current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching
Geography - note:
landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan

Population of Mali

12,324,029 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 48.2% (male 2,857,670/female 2,787,506)
15-64 years: 48.8% (male 2,804,344/female 2,910,097)
65 years and over: 3% (male 146,458/female 210,754)
Median age:
15.8 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
107.58 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49 years
male: 47.05 years
female: 51.01 years
Fertility rate:
7.42 children born/woman
noun: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
Ethnic groups:
Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%
Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%
French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.4%
male: 53.5%
female: 39.6% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mali
former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic
local long form: Republique de Mali
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
8 regions (regions, singular - region); Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Tombouctou
22 September 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 22 September (1960)
adopted 12 January 1992
Legal system:
based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Court (which was formally established on 9 March 1994); has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Amadou Toumani TOURE (since 8 June 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Modibo SIDIBE (since 28 September 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president.
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (147 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Patriotic Movement of the Ghanda Koye or MPGK; United Movement and Fronts of Azawad or MFUA


Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export, along with gold. The government has continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a 5% average in 1996-2007. Worker remittances and external trade routes for the landlocked country have been jeopardized by continued unrest in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire.

$13.63 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 45%
industry: 17%
services: 38% 
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
3.93 million )
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture and fishing 80%
14.6% urban areas; 5.3% rural areas 
revenues: $764 million
expenditures: $828 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 41.7%
hydro: 58.3%
other: 0% 
nuclear: 0%
food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining
cotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats
cotton, gold, livestock
Export partners:
China 24.3%, Pakistan 12.9%, Thailand 8.4%, India 6.2%, Taiwan 5.2%, Italy 4.4% 
petroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles
Import partners:
France 13.1%, Senegal 10.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 8.5% 
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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