Overview

  • Mali is a vast, landlocked country with a semi-arid climate. It is also a low-income country with an undiversified economy that is vulnerable to raw material price fluctuations. High population growth rates (Mali’s population numbered 18 million in 2016) and climate change constitute major challenges for the country’s agriculture sector and food security.

    Political Context

    Mali has been experiencing instability and conflict since the military coup of 2012 and the occupation of the northern regions by armed groups. These events were followed by the deployment of French-led military forces in January 2013, which handed over to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in July 2014.

    President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, first elected in 2012, was re-elected for a second term in August 2018. Parliamentary elections scheduled for the fall of 2018 were postponed until the first half of 2019, and members’ terms of office scheduled to end on December 31, 2018, were extended for six months by the Constitutional Court.

    Peace negotiations between the Government and two rebel coalitions, the “Platform” and the “Coordination,” concluded with the signing of agreements in May and June 2015. While the agreement does not envision autonomous status for Mali’s northern regions, it provides an impetus for decentralization, creating a development zone and setting up several projects, including a program of accelerated development in the north (Programme de développement accéléré du Nord) and an emergency program for the revival of development in the northern regions (Programme d’urgence pour la relance du développement des régions du Nord). However, the implementation of the agreements has not been without challenges. Security, critical to economic recovery and poverty reduction, remains fragile in the face of continued attacks by armed groups on UN peacekeepers, the Malian army, and civilians, especially in the north and central regions.

    To present a united front in the face of the shared challenges, Mali, along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger, created the G5 Sahel, in 2014.

    In July 2017, the Sahel Alliance was established by the European Union, France, Germany, the UNDP, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank, to help stabilize the region and accelerate development of the G5 Sahel countries. Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg have since joined the Alliance, the aim of which is to provide financial support and coordinate the development and stabilization priorities of the G5 Sahel countries.

    Social Context

    While overall national poverty in Mali fell from 50.9% in 2001 to 41.1% in 2010, regional differences persist. Poverty decreased during the period in some regions, including Kayes, Koulikoro, and Mopti, but it increased in the regions of Segou, Timbuktu, and Gao.

    The extreme poverty rate rose from 47.8% to 50.4% between 2011 and 2013 as a result of the security crisis. However, thanks to exceptionally high agricultural production over the previous three years, the rate fell to 42.7% in 2017.

    In 2016, Mali ranked 175th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. Poverty is much lower in urban areas, with 90% of all poor living in rural areas and concentrated in the south, where population density is highest. Drought and conflict have only increased the incidence of poverty.

    Economic Overview

    Despite deteriorating security, economic performance remains strong, with robust growth. A strong performance in the secondary and services sectors led to a projected growth rate of 5.4% in 2017 (versus 5.8% in 2016), despite volatile security conditions.

    Primary sector growth fell from 7.6% to 4.8% between 2016 and 2017, owing to decreased rainfall, while the tertiary sector has continued to grow as a result of renewed dynamism in the telecommunications sector, which has grown at a rate of around 6% since 2014.

    On the demand side, investment has risen sharply, climbing 8%, partly as a result of an increase in private investments for the first time since 2012, and partly as a result of the Government’s efforts to reduce infrastructure gaps.

    The inflation rate rose to 1.8% in 2017 as a result of higher food prices and increased international oil prices.

    Notwithstanding a slight deterioration in the terms of trade (owing to increased oil prices and lower gold prices), the current external deficit (grants included) fell to 5.8% of GDP in 2017, compared to 7.2% in 2016, thanks to an improvement in the balance of trade.

    Despite pressure on public expenditure, the authorities have managed to contain the budget deficit, which narrowed from 3.9% of GDP in 2016 to 2.9% in 2017, thanks to the rationalization of current expenditure and significant improvement in domestic revenue.

    Mali is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Monetary policy is managed by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which keeps a peg between the CFA Franc and the Euro, a policy supported by the French Treasury.

    Growth is projected to hold steady at about 5% over the medium term. 

    lastupdated: Jan 11, 2019

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Mali

    The World Bank Group is implementing a partnership framework designed to respond to Mali’s post-crisis challenges.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of June 2018, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, had aggregated commitments of $31.2 million, including investments in the financial, infrastructure, and agro-industrial sectors. IFC's activities in Mali also include technical assistance projects that help boost financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and, in collaboration with the World Bank, improve the business climate.

    To further the development of the private sector, IFC is committed to:

    • supporting the transformation of the agricultural sector through the development of agribusiness and better organized value chains;
    • providing suitable financial products for local financial institutions and building the capacity of financial institutions to improve access to financing for underserved segments;
    • developing lower-cost renewable energy infrastructure;
    • improving the business environment in selected areas, such as transport, logistics, and agribusiness.

    lastupdated: Jan 11, 2019

  • The World Bank Group has contributed to Mali’s development in the following sectors:

    Agriculture

    The Agriculture Competitiveness and Diversification Project (ACDP) has resulted in the agricultural development of 2,200 hectares in Sabalibougou in the Office du Niger zone (Ségou region), benefiting 668 farms and 4,300 producers, including 500 women and young people. Agricultural productivity has improved thanks to the various supports provided under the project. The average total rice yield in Sabalibougou has grown, as illustrated by the following figures:

    • 2015/2016 crop year: 5.56 metric tons/hectare, or 12,170 metric tons;
    • 2016/2017 crop year: 7.53 metric tons/hectare, or 16,566 metric tons;
    • 2017/2018 crop year: 7 metric tons/hectare, or 15,400 metric tons.

    Total production for the three seasons is estimated at 44,136 metric tons.

    Urban Development

    The Urban Local Government Support Project (PACUM) is being implemented in Bamako and nine secondary cities across the country: Kayes, Kita, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou, Niono, Bla, Mopti, and Gao.

    The project has directly benefited 205,004 people (50.62% of whom are women).

    Public perceptions of urban management and the level of citizen engagement in the participating communes have improved steadily (with scores rising by around 50%) as the capacity of commune-level councils, municipal services, and civil society has been strengthened, leading to greater transparency and accountability in local government.

    The project has made it possible to test and validate a performance-based investment allocation system and an annual performance evaluation system for communes. These mechanisms are being institutionalized at the national level.

    Social Safety Nets

    From 2013 to the end of 2017, the Emergency Safety Nets Project (Jigiséméjiri) helped reduce poverty among beneficiary households by 21%. At the same time, living conditions in those households improved.

    • 67,845 families, comprising 390,465 people (80,975 children aged 0–5, 103,874 children aged 6–14, and 31,092 people aged 60 and over), received quarterly cash transfers in the Kayes, Sikasso, Koulikoro, Segou, Mopti, and Gao regions and in the district of Bamako.
    • 105,000 people received nutritional supplements (70% were children under 5 and 30% were pregnant women);
    • 10,000 households were able to support themselves through income-generating activities (small businesses, processing of agricultural products, livestock farming, market gardening, etc.);
    • Project beneficiaries also have access to free health care through the national medical insurance scheme (RAMED) implemented by the National Agency for Medical Insurance.

    lastupdated: Jan 11, 2019

  • To facilitate coordination among themselves, Mali’s technical and financial partners (bilateral and multilateral donors and the UN system in Mali) include an Executive Cooperation Group (GEC) headed by a group of three donors, MINUSMA, and 10 sector-specific groups.

    In consultation with the Government of Mali, the GEC has developed a Joint Country Assistance Strategy (JCAS) that sets out priority areas for cooperation and coordinates aid. The World Bank is a key player in the technical pool that supports this mechanism. In 2017, it took charge of the economy, finance, and private sector group, a mandate that it continued to fulfill in 2018.

    The World Bank Group also works closely with the private sector, civil society, municipalities, and universities.    

    lastupdated: Jan 11, 2019

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Bureau de la Banque mondiale au Mali
B.P. 1864
Immeuble Waly Diawara
Avenue du Mali
Hamdallaye ACI 2000
Bamako, Mali
+223 20 70 22 00
For general information and inquiries
Habibatou Gologo
Communications Officer
+223 20 70 22 06
hgologo@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
malialert@worldbank.org