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Encyclopedia > Economy of Mali

The Economy of Mali is based to a large extent on agriculture. Mali is among the ten poorest nations of the world and is dependent upon foreign aid. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of Mali was $820 in 1999. Its potential wealth lies in mining and the production of agricultural commodities, livestock, and fish. The most productive agricultural area lies along the banks of the Niger River. Map of Niger River with Niger River basin in green. ...

Current GDP per capita of Mali registerd a peak growth of 295% in the Seventies. But this proved unsustainable and growth consequently scaled back to just 5.20% in the Eighties. Finally, it grew by 24% in the Nineties.


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Mali at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of CFA Francs.

Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange Inflation Index (2000=100)
1980 356,026 211.29 CFA Francs 48
1985 551,381 449.37 CFA Francs 75
1990 749,122 272.21 CFA Francs 70
1995 1,405,870 499.06 CFA Francs 92
2000 1,899,186 710.24 CFA Francs 100
2005 2,760,689 525.34 CFA Francs 111


Agricultural activities occupy 70% of Mali's labor force and provide 42% of the GDP. Cotton and livestock make up 75%-80% of Mali's annual exports. Small-scale traditional farming dominates the agricultural sector, with subsistence farming (of cereals, primarily sorghum, millet, and maize) on about 90% of the 14,000 km² (3.4 million acres) under cultivation.

The most productive agricultural area lies along the banks of the Niger River between Bamako and Mopti and extends south to the borders of Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. Average rainfall varies in this region from 0.5 m per year (20 in) around Mopti to 1.4 m (55 in) in the south near Sikasso. This area is most important for the production of cotton, rice, millet, maize, vegetables, tobacco, and tree crops. Map of Niger River with Niger River basin in green. ... View of Bamako Bamako district Bamako, population 1,690,471 (2006), is the capital of Mali, and is the biggest city in the country. ... Mopti is a city at the confluence of the River Niger and the River Bani in Mali, between Timbuktu and Ségou. ... Corn redirects here. ...

Annual rainfall, critical for Mali's agriculture, has been at or above average since 1993. Cereal production, including rice, has grown annually, and the 1997-98 cotton harvest reached a record 500,000 tons.

Until the mid-1960s, Mali was self-sufficient in grains--millet, sorghum, rice, and maize. Diminished harvests during bad years, a growing population, changing dietary habits, and, most importantly, policy constraints on agricultural production resulted in grain deficits almost every year from 1965 to 1986. Production has rebounded since 1987, however, thanks to agricultural policy reforms undertaken by the government and supported by the Western donor nations. Liberalization of producer prices and an open cereals market have created incentives to production. These reforms, combined with adequate rainfall, successful integrated rural agriculture programs in the south, and improved management of the Office du Niger, have led to surplus cereal production over the past 5 years.


Rice is grown extensively along the banks of the Niger between Segou and Mopti, with the most important rice-producing area at the Office du Niger, located north of Segou toward the Mauritanian border. Using water diverted from the Niger, the Office du Niger irrigates about 600 km&sup2 of land for rice and sugarcane production. About one-third of Mali's paddy rice is produced at the Office du Niger. Ségou or Segu is a city in Mali, lying northeast of Bamako on the River Niger. ...


Sorghum is planted extensively in the drier parts of the country and along the banks of the Niger in eastern Mali, as well as in the lake beds in the Niger delta region. During the dry season, farmers near the town of Dire have cultivated wheat on irrigated fields for hundreds of years. Peanuts are grown throughout the country but are concentrated in the area around Kita, west of Bamako.


Mali's resource in livestock consists of millions of cattle, sheep, and goats. Approximately 40% of Mali's herds were lost during the great drought in 1972-74. The level was gradually restored, but the herds were again decimated in the 1983-85 drought. The overall size of Mali's herds is not expected to reach predrought levels in the north of the country, where encroachment of the desert has forced many nomadic herders to abandon pastoral activities and turn instead to farming. The largest concentrations of cattle are in the areas north of Bamako and Ségou extending into the Niger delta, but herding activity is gradually shifting southward, due to the effects of previous droughts. Sheep, goats, and camels are raised to the exclusion of cattle in the dry areas north and east of Timbuktu. Species Camelus bactrianus Camelus dromedarius Camelus gigas Camelus hesternus Camelus sivalensis Camels are even-toed ungulates in the genus Camelus. ... Timbuktu (disambiguation) Timbuktu (Archaic English: Timbuctoo; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu; French: Tombouctou) is a city in Mali, West Africa. ...


The Niger River also is an important source of fish, providing food for riverside communities; the surplus--smoked, salted, and dried--is exported. Due to drought and diversion of river water for agriculture, fish production has steadily declined since the early 1980s. A drought is a period of time when there is not enough water to support agricultural, urban or environmental water needs. ...


Mining is a rapidly growing industry in Mali, with gold accounting for some 80% of mining activity. There are considerable proven reserves of other minerals not currently exploited. Gold has become Mali's third-largest export, after cotton and livestock. There are two large private investments in gold mining: Anglogold-Ashanti ($250 million) in Sadiola and Yatela, and Randgold ($140 million) in Morila - both multinational South African companies located respectively in the north-western and southern parts of the country. Sadiola is a town in western Mali, south of Kayes. ...


During the colonial period, private capital investment was virtually nonexistent, and public investment was devoted largely to the Office du Niger irrigation scheme and to administrative expenses. Following independence, Mali built some light industries with the help of various donors. Manufacturing, consisting principally of processed agricultural products, accounted for about 8% of the GDP in 1990.

Economic Reform

With the encouragement of the major donors and international financial institutions, the government of Mali initiated a series of adjustment and stabilization programs beginning in 1982. Measures were introduced to reduce budgetary deficits, public enterprise operating losses, and public sector arrears. Substantial progress was made in the first few years of the adjustment program, but the pace of reform slowed considerably in 1987 and required the intervention of donors to avert a financial crisis. Arrears, or arrearages is a legal term for the type of debt accrued after missing an expected payment. ...

Under the economic reform program signed with the World Bank and the IMF in 1988, the government has taken a number of steps to liberalize the regulatory environment and thereby attract private investment. For example, applications for the establishment of business enterprises now enjoy "one window" (guichet unique) processing through a single ministry, allowing a business to be established in a matter of days. In addition, price controls on consumer goods have been progressively eliminated; the last price control, on petroleum products, was removed on 1 July 1992. Import quotas were eliminated in 1988, and export taxes were dropped in 1991. The Commerce Code was revised in 1991 to remove impediments to commercial activity. The investment and the mining codes also were revised in the early 1990s in order to present a good investment climate. Also in 1991, a system of commercial and administrative courts was established to handle private trade complaints and claims against the government. July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ...

During the period 1988-96, the government implemented a large reform program of the public enterprise sector, including the privatization of 16 enterprises, the partial privatization of 12, and the liquidation of 20; others were restructured. Among the 20 enterprises left, five recently were proposed for privatization, and two large companies--Energie du Mali, electricity and water and Societe de Telecommunications du Mali, telecommunications--plan partial privatization.

Foreign Aid

Mali is a major recipient of foreign aid from many sources, including multilateral organizations (most significantly the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Arab Funds), and bilateral programs funded by the European Union, France, United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany. Before 1991, the former Soviet Union had been a major source of economic and military aid, including construction of a cement plant and the Kalana gold mine. Currently, aid from Russia is restricted mainly to training and provision of spare parts. Chinese aid remains high, and Chinese-Malian joint venture companies have become more numerous in the last 3 years, leading to the opening of a Chinese investment center. The Chinese are major participants in the textile industry and in largescale construction projects, including a bridge across the Niger, a conference center, an expressway in Bamako, and a new national stadium scheduled to be completed for the Africa Cup competition in 2002. Logo of the World Bank The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, in Romance languages: BIRD), better known as the World Bank, is an international organization whose original mission was to finance the reconstruction of nations devastated by WWII. Now, its mission has expanded to fight poverty by means... The African Development Bank (ADB) is a development bank established in 1964 with the intention of States dollar|$]]47. ...

In 1998, U.S. assistance reached over $40 million. This included $39 million in sector support through United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs, largely channeled to local communities through private voluntary agencies; Peace Corps program budget of $2.2 million for more than 160 Volunteers serving in Mali; Self Help and the Democracy Funds of $170,500; and $650,000 designated for electoral support. Military assistance includes $275,000 for the International Military Education Training (IMET) program, $1.6 million for the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), $60,000 for Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET), and $100,000 for Humanitarian Assistance. USAID logo The United States Agency for International Development (or USAID) is the U.S. government organization responsible for most non-military foreign aid. ... Peace Corps volunteers usually serve for two years. ... Sergeant 1st Class Cassius Williams instucts Senegalese soldiers on U.N. peacekeeping policies during training for the African Crisis Response Initiative in Thiès, Senegal. ...


GDP: purchasing power parity - $8.5 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2002 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $820 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 46
industry: 21%
services: 33% (1998)

Population below poverty line: 70%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2004 est.)

Labor force: 33%

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture and fishing 80% (1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: 12%

revenues: $730 million
expenditures: $770 million, including capital expenditures of $320 million (1997 est.)

Industries: minor local consumer goods production and food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining

Industrial production growth rate: 0.6% (1995 est.)

Electricity - production: 310 GWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 38.71%
hydro: 61.29%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 288 GWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: cotton, millet, rice, maize, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats Cotton ready for harvest. ... Pearl millet in the field The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. ... Species Oryza glaberrima Oryza sativa Rice is two species of grass (Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima) native to tropical and subtropical southern & southeastern Asia and in Africa. ... Corn redirects here. ... Vegetables in a market Venn diagram representing the relationship between (botanical) fruits and vegetables. ... Binomial name Arachis hypogaea L. The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) is a species in the legume family Fabaceae native to South America. ... Binomial name Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758 Cattle (often called cows in vernacular and contemporary usage, or kye as the Scots plural of cou) are domesticated ungulates, a member of the subfamily Bovinae of the family Bovidae. ... Lamb redirects here. ... Species See Species and subspecies The goat is a mammal in the genus Capra, which consists of nine species: the Ibex, the West Caucasian Tur, the East Caucasian Tur, the Markhor, and the Wild Goat. ...

Exports: $640 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: cotton 50%, gold, livestock (1998 est.)

Exports - partners: Thailand 20%, Italy 20%, China 9%, Brazil 5%, Franc Zone (1997)

Imports: $650 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, construction materials, petroleum, foodstuffs, textiles

Imports - partners: Cote d'Ivoire 19%, France 17%, other Franc Zone and EU countries (1997)

Debt - external: $3.1 billion (1998)

Economic aid - recipient: $596.4 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 647.25 (January 2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995)
note: since 1 January 1999, the CFAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...

Fiscal year: calendar year

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Economy of Mali - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1552 words)
Mali is among the ten poorest nations of the world and is dependent upon foreign aid.
Until the mid-1960s, Mali was self-sufficient in grains--millet, sorghum, rice, and maize.
Mali is a major recipient of foreign aid from many sources, including multilateral organizations (most significantly the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Arab Funds), and bilateral programs funded by the European Union, France, United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany.
Mali - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1028 words)
Mali was invaded by France starting in 1880, which annexed it as an overseas department of France.
Mali was ruled by a series of dictators from independence until 1991.
Mali's adherence to economic reform, and the 50% devaluation of the African franc in January 1994, has pushed up economic growth.
  More results at FactBites »



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