Mali Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mali > Map Economy History

Facts About Mali

Background: The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 with a transitional government, and in 1992 when Mali's first democratic presidential election was held. Since his reelection in 1997, President KONARE has continued to push through political and economic reforms and to fight corruption. In 1999 he indicated he would not run for a third term.
Government type: republic
Capital: Bamako
Economic aid - recipient: $596.4 million (1995)

Geography of Mali

Location: Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
Geographic coordinates: 17 00 N, 4 00 W
Area:
total: 1.24 million sq km
land: 1.22 million sq km
water: 20,000 sq km
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
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: subtropical to arid; hot and dry February to June; rainy, humid, and mild June to November; cool and dry November to February
Terrain: 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
Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 6%
other: 67% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 780 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan.

People of Mali

Mali's population consists of diverse Sub-Saharan ethnic groups, sharing similar historic, cultural, and religious traditions. Exceptions are the Tuaregs and Maurs, desert nomads, related to the North African Berbers. The Tuaregs traditionally have opposed the central government. 

Historically, good inter-ethnic relations throughout the rest of the country were facilitated by easy mobility on the Niger River and across the country's vast savannahs. Each ethnic group was traditionally tied to a specific occupation, all working within close proximity. The Bambara, Malinke, Sarakole, and Dogon are farmers; the Fulani, Maur, and Tuareg are herders; while the Bozo are fishers. In recent years, this linkage has shifted as ethnic groups seek diverse, nontraditional sources of income.

Although each ethnic group speaks a separate language, nearly 80% of Malians communicate in Bambara, the common language of the marketplace. Malians enjoy a relative harmony rare in African states.

Population: 12,291,529 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  47.2%
15-64 years:  49.73%
65 years and over:  3.07%
Population growth rate: 2.97% 
Birth rate: 48.79 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 18.71 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 121.44 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  47.02 years
male:  45.84 years
female:  48.24 years
Total fertility rate: 6.81 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
Ethnic groups: Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%
Religions: Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%
Languages: French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 31%
male: 39.4%
female: 23.1% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mali > Map Economy History