macrohistory & world report

Republic of Mali

Map of Mali

Mali (capital Bamako) and surrounding states

Niger River near Timbuktu

Near Timbuktu at sunset on the Niger River, flowing toward Niger and Nigeria

World Factbook: as of November 2014: "Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country that depends on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. 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. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid. 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. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is developing its iron ore extraction industry to diversify foreign exchange earnings away from gold... The main threat to Mali's economy is a return to physical insecurity. Other long term threats to the economy include high population growth, corruption, a weak infrastructure, and low levels of human capital."

Economic growth rate
2011: 5.3%
2010: 5.8%
2009: 4.5%

Labor force in agriculture
2005: 80%

Unemployment rate
2004: 30%

Export commodities
Cotton, gold, livestockExports - partners:

Export partners
2009: China 27.2%, Indonesia 8.2%, Thailand 5.3%, Burkina Faso 5.2%, Morocco 5%, South Korea 4.9%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 60th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 7.5%


urban population:
2010: 36%

Net migration rate
2012 estimate: Net loss of 5.08 persons per 1,000 population

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

Muslim 90%; Christian 1%; Indigeinous beliefs 9%.

2003: males, females 39.6%


Western Africa. Southwest of Algeria. Landlocked. Almost twice the size of Texas. Capital: Bamako.

Government – Recent History

Independence from France in 1960. Dictatorship until 1991.

Before the March, 2012, coup: President elected by popular vote, with a two-term limit; prime minister appointed by president. Unicameral legislature, members elected by popular vote to five-year terms. 

Recent History

March 1991: A clash between military soldiers and peaceful demonstrating students results in a massacre of dozens under the orders of President Moussa Traoré. The growing refusal of soldiers to fire into the largely nonviolent protesting crowds results in thousands of soldiers putting down their arms and joining the pro-democracy movement. Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Toumani Touré announces on the radio that he has arrested the dictatorial president, Moussa Traoré. Following this, opposition parties are legalized.

August 1991: Touré has organized a national conference that draws up a Constitution schedules legislative and presidential elections for 1992.

1992: Following Mali's first democratic presidential election, Touré relinquishes power to the new president, Alpha Oumar Konaré. Due to his voluntary departure from office, he gained the nickname "The Soldier of Democracy."

2002: Touré has retired from the military and won an election for the presidency. He takes office on June 8.

2011: Timbuktu is still involved in the salt trade. Although there are no roads, the slabs of salt are now usually transported from Taoudenni by truck. The salt is then transported by boat on the Niger River to other towns in Mali.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.