Mali Economy



Bamako is the capital of Mali, a landlocked nation in the north-western region of Africa. Mali is bordered by Algeria, Niger, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mauritania. It is the seventh largest country in Africa and 24th largest in the world, based on total land area. A majority of the country falls in the Sahara Desert zone. However, the southern region of Mali is watered by the River Niger and River Senegal. A large percentage of the total population (14.5 million as per 2009 estimates) resides in the fertile plains. Mali’s economy suffers from high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a lack of basic infrastructure. Almost half of the population survives below the international poverty line.[br]

Mali Economy: Introduction

Mali’s economy primarily depends on agricultural productivity for budget revenues. Almost 80% of the population is engaged in agriculture. Cotton is the prime export item for this African nation. Mali is the third largest producer of gold in Africa. It also exports minerals such as limestone, phosphate and salt.


Considered as one of the poorest countries, Mali undertook economic reforms after the installation of a democratic constitution in 1993. Under these reforms, in association with the World Bank and IMF, the country liberalized its trade policies and opened up the economy for private and foreign investors. Owing to sustained reforms, Mali has an annual GDP of US$15.38 billion, according to the 2009 estimates.

Mali Economy: Statistical Snapshot

Here is major statistical data about Mali’s economy:[br]


Labor force

3.241 million (2007 est.)

Labor in agriculture


Budget revenues

$1.5 billion

Budget expenditures

$1.8 billion (2006 est.)


30% (2008)

Current account balance

-$446 million (2007 est.)


$294 million (2006)


$2.358 billion (2006)

External debt

$2.8 billion (2002)

Exchange rate

481.35 West African CFA franc per US Dollar (December 2009)


With continued support for the IMF-led economic reforms, the Malian economic profile is expected to rise in the near future. The landlocked geography and political crisis in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire are the biggest challenges for Mali. Also, the country has to strategically focus on developing infrastructure and reduce its dependence on agriculture.


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