The 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 re-elected 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.


Location: Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
Geographic coordinates: 17 00 N, 4 00 W
Population: 15,494,466 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  47.3% (male 3,372,717/female 3,325,188)

15-64 years: 49.7% (male 3,438,687/female 3,605,143)

65 years and over:  3% (male 199,862/female 218,307) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Mali

conventional short form: Mali

local long form: Republique de Mali

local short form: Mali

former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Bamako

geographic coordinates: 12 39 N, 8 00 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Telephones – main lines in use: 114,400 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7.326 million (2009)
Military branches: Malian Armed Forces: Army, Republic of Mali Air Force (Force Aerienne de la Republique du Mali, FARM), National Guard (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation – 2 years (2010)


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 labour 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 neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: none
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 10,468 (Mauritania) (2010)