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Mali Country Guide

Explore Mali in Africa

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service has marked this country as DO NOT TRAVEL. This means that travelling this country can result in potentially life-threatening situations! If you really have to go: Check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Mali with the capital city Bamako is located in Africa (interior Western Africa, southwest of Algeria). It covers some 1,240,001 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of Texas) with 12,324,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Mali

The landscape offers mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand and savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast. The average density of population is approximately 10 per km². The notable climate conditions in Mali can be described as subtropical to arid with hot and dry (February to June), rainy, humid, and mild (June to November), cool and dry (November to February). Potential threats by nature are hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons or recurring droughts or occasional Niger River flooding.

To reach someone in Mali dial +223 prior to a number. There are 81,000 installed telephones. And there are 3,742,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ml". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Mali

Three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the same as those of neighboring Senegal (which has an additional green central star) and the reverse of those on the flag of neighboring Guinea.

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 that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In keeping with Mali''s two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was elected to a second term in 2007 elections that were widely judged to be free and fair. Malian returnees from Libya in 2011 exacerbated tensions in northern Mali, and Tuareg ethnic militias started a rebellion in January 2012. Low- and mid-level soldiers, frustrated with the poor handling of the rebellion overthrew TOURE on 22 March. Intensive mediation efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) returned power to a civilian administration in April with the appointment of interim President Dioncounda TRAORE. The post-coup chaos led to rebels expelling the Malian military from the three northern regions of the country and allowed Islamic militants to set up strongholds. Hundreds of thousands of northern Malians fled the violence to southern Mali and neighboring countries, exacerbating regional food insecurity in host communities. A military intervention to retake the three northern regions began in January 2013 and within a month most of the north had been retaken. Democratic elections are scheduled for mid-2013.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Senegal, Niger, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mauritania, Burkina Faso
Capital: Bamako
Size 1,240,000 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 478,767 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Population 12,324,000
Currency Name: Franc, Currency Code: XOF
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ml
Telephone Country Prefix +223
Mobile Phone Connections 3,742,000
Landline Phone Connections 81,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 1,240,192 (sq km) 24

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 15,968,882 66
Population growth rate 3.01 (%) 9
Birth rate 46.06 (births/1,000 population) 2
Death rate 13.55 (deaths/1,000 population) 16
Net migration rate -2.41 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 169
Maternal mortality rate 540.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 16
Infant mortality rate 106.49 (deaths/1,000 live births) 2
Life expectancy at birth 54.55 (years) 204
Total fertility rate 6.25 (children born/woman) 2
Health expenditures 5.00 (% of GDP) 141
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 1.00 (%) 47
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 76,000 47
HIV/AIDS - deaths 4,400 41
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 4.30 (%) 166
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 27.90 (%) 22
Education expenditures 4.80 (% of GDP) 82


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 18,280,000,000 136
GDP - real growth rate -1.20 (%) 201
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,100 214
Labor force 3,241,000 101
Unemployment rate 30.00 (%) 181
Distribution of family income - Gini index 40 59
Taxes and other revenues 13.5 (% of GDP) 199
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -6.90 (% of GDP) 187
Public debt 23.20 (% of GDP) 124
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.50 (%) 170
Central bank discount rate 4.25 (%) 90
Commercial bank prime lending rate 9.00 (%) 102
Stock of narrow money 2,382,000,000 122
Stock of broad money 3,401,000,000 141
Stock of domestic credit 1,938,000,000 139
Current account balance -1,421,000,000 123
Exports 2,557,000,000 137
Imports 3,209,000,000 146
Debt - external 2,725,000,000 136
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 2,556,000,000 91
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 77,440,000 86


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 520,000,000 (kWh) 161
Electricity - consumption 483,600,000 (kWh) 169
Electricity - installed generating capacity 304000 (kW) 149
Electricity - from fossil fuels 48.4 (% of total installed capacity) 159
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 51.6 (% of total installed capacity) 40
Refined petroleum products - consumption 4,994 (bbl/day) 170
Refined petroleum products - imports 4,568 (bbl/day) 160
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 893,700 (Mt) 169


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 104,700 145
Telephones - mobile cellular 10,822,000 70
Internet hosts 437 187
Internet users 249,800 135


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 21 135
Railways 593 (km) 109
Roadways 18,912 (km) 113
Waterways 1,800 (km) 44


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.30 (% of GDP) 113

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons)
The Bandiagara site is an outstanding landscape of cliffs and sandy plateaux with some beautiful architecture (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and Togu Na, or communal meeting-places). Several age-old social traditions live on in the region (m ...
Old Towns of Djenné
Inhabited since 250 B.C., Djenné became a market centre and an important link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was one of the centres for the propagation of Islam. Its traditional houses, of which nearly 2,000 have ...
Home of the prestigious Koranic Sankore University and other madrasas, Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareybe ...
Tomb of Askia
The dramatic 17-m pyramidal structure of the Tomb of Askia was built by Askia Mohamed, the Emperor of Songhai, in 1495 in his capital Gao. It bears testimony to the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through ...