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Mali Overview


    Country Overview

    Mali is a sparsely populated, predominantly desert country with a highly undiversified economy. It is vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations and to the consequences of climate change, which, in addition to having one of the highest population growth rates in the world, have fueled food insecurity, poverty and instability in the country. Delivery of services to the large, sparsely populated territory poses severe challenges in these conditions, and has a negative impact on geographic equity and social cohesion. Mali has a population of 15 million, 10% of which are living in the three northern regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, areas that represent two-thirds of the entire country. These northern regions contributed 9.5% of the country’s GDP prior to the crisis.

    Political Context

    The government of Mali successfully conducted legislative elections in two rounds from November 24 to December 15, 2013, demonstrating technical improvements to the voting process that was implemented following the presidential elections in July and August. An alliance of parties supporting the current president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, won 115 of the 147 national assembly seats.

    The new assembly is dominated by the Rassemblement pour le Mali (Rally for Mali or RPM), who have 67 representatives out of 147, and as well as by the Alliance pour la Démocratie au Mali (Alliance for Democracy in Mali or Adéma), RPM's main ally, who obtained 16 seats. The Union pour la République et la Démocratie (Union for Democracy and the Republic of Mali or URD) of Soumaila Cissé, who lost the last presidential election, is considered to be the leading opposition party. The URD obtained 17 seats in the new assembly.

    Municipal elections are still to be held; they were planned for April 2014 but ultimately will not be held before October 2014. The terms of all current territorial elected officials have been extended for another six months until October.

    Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appointed Moussa Mara on April 7, 2014 as the country's prime minister, replacing Oumar Tatam Ly who resigned from the position. Mr. Mara was previously the minister for urban planning and development.

    Social Context

    Prior to the crisis, Mali was ranked 175 on the UN Human Development Index. The poverty rate has declined from 49.1% to 36.2% between 2001 and 2010, yet the high population growth rate has kept the absolute number of poor unchanged. Since 2010, poverty has most likely increased from 36.2% to 38.1% as a result of the drought of 2011 and the political crisis of 2012. Poverty has also presented terrorist groups with ample recruitment incentives for unemployed youth. Geographic disparities continue to characterize the prevalence of poverty in Mali.

    As of February 2014, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there were still approximately 200,000 internally displaced people in Mali and 170,000 refugees in neighboring countries such as Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso. As a result of the crisis in the north and reduced agricultural production, more than 800,000 people are in need of urgent food assistance.

    Economic Overview

    In 2013, economic growth rebounded to 2%, up from 0% in 2012. However, there still remains considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the economic impact of the political crisis in 2012, and its subsequent recovery as security conditions continue to improve. In 2012, economic activity was negatively affected by the suspension of aid and foreign tourism and by a broad disruption due to the deterioration of security conditions. However, external factors not related to the political crisis have had a positive effect. These factors include excellent terms of trade and an exceptional agricultural harvest. In 2013, foreign aid resumed, representing an additional external inflow of over 10% of GDP compared to 2012, stimulating demand for domestic goods and services. First post-crisis household surveys suggest that per capita consumption decreased in southern regions from 2011 and 2013, with the exception of Bamako. Benefiting from an abundant food supply produced in 2012, consumer price inflation strongly decelerated to -0.6% in December 2013, down from 5.4% in 2012, in spite of some reduction in energy subsidies.

    Being part of a monetary union with a fixed peg to the Euro, Mali's economic policy is anchored around the maintenance of a basic primary balance (excluding grants, debt service and foreign-financed investment) close to zero. Its overall deficit is financed through non concessional external borrowing and restrained domestic and regional financing.  In 2013, public investments strongly resumed, financed through aid and increased domestic revenues. Current public expenditures also increased with security and electoral needs. The overall deficit nonetheless remained contained to around 1.9% of GDP (down from a revised 2.9% of GDP in 2012 accounting for recently uncovered arrears), and was easily financed with domestic and regional financing and budget support, notably from the World Bank.

    Medium-term outlook

    An economic recovery is under way thanks to an improving political and security environment. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to increase by close to 5% given the progressive recovery of the service and construction sectors. Beyond 2013, growth is projected to accelerate to over 6% in response to a fiscal impulse financed by donor inflows. However this outlook remains uncertain as vulnerabilities due to climate change and commodity prices fluctuations are still latent. 

    Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014

    Mali: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*
    *Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

World Bank Group Engagement in Mali

The two-year World Bank Group’s (WBG) Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for 2014-2015 proposes a selective program in support of post-conflict recovery and long-term development objectives, all of which are underpinned by a Fragility Assessment.  This ISN program aims to both rapidly provide support to meet the needs of populations across the country and initiate new activities to better address long-term governance challenges.

The WBG recognizes the centrality of the human development challenges Mali faces in the aftermath of the 2011-12 crisis, and proposes a strong program focused on strengthening capacities and delivering basic services. The program has three pillars: (i) laying the foundations for long-term accountability and stability; (ii) protecting human capital and building resilience; and (iii) preparing the conditions for economic recovery. In recognition of the national and regional dynamics that led to the instability, each of these priority areas will include a combination of programs with a national reach and targeted regional lending and non-lending programs to improve the knowledge base on the drivers and impact of the crisis.

An emergency Reconstruction and Economic Recovery Project in the form of a $100 million grant was approved by the World Bank Board in December 2013 to respond to the crisis. The Reconstruction and Economic Recovery Project will primarily focus on the rehabilitation of existing schools and education facilities, and also finance the infrastructure needs of local governments in the south that are host to internally displaced people affected by the crisis.

A second grant of $21.42 million will fund Mali’s Natural Resources Management in a Changing Climate (NRMCC) Project, designed to expand the use of sustainable land and water management practices in certain communities that are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as drought, land degradation, deforestation and flooding.

The $25 million Rural Electrification Hybrid System Project for Mali was also approved in December. Its development objective is to expand access to modern energy services in rural areas of the recipient and to increase renewable energy generation in target areas.

In November 2013, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $80 million to boost water supply for Bamako and improve access and quality of service in the capital city. 

A new Systematic Country Diagnostic will be launched in September 2014 to assess the knowledge gap, reduce poverty, and achieve shared prosperity. This work will inform the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) to be formulated by June 2015.

International Finance Corporation (IFC):

The IFC has aggregate commitments of $40.2 million to six clients, of which $14.1 million is undisbursed.

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):

The MIGA portfolio of guarantees includes one $18 million equity investment in Ikatel SA of Mali (telecommunications).  

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014


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

Agriculture and Livestock

Thanks to World Bank projects such as the Agriculture Competitiveness and Diversification Project, Mali has improved productivity of targeted horticultural/livestock products. Below are some project results:

  • The volume and value of the products marketed for the three main value chains (mango, shallot /onion and potato) have almost achieved the project’s expected results (respectively 104%, 93%, 95%; and 107, 90%, 96%)
  • Access to financing for farmers and other private economic operators in the selected supply chains increased to 782 million francs CFAF out of 880 million planned
  • Some 125 medium-sized agribusiness investors have benefitted from credit facilitation to acquire innovative technologies in micro-irrigation, storage, or post-harvest processing


Project such as the Household Energy and Universal Rural Access (HEURA) Project have increased access to basic energy services.

  • As of 2011, about 55,900 off-grid connections were made for households and for public lighting, proving electricity access to about 838,000 people
  • 896 public institutions including 208 schools and 165 health centers have been provided off-grid electricity access
  • Over a period of six years, more than 8,598 households were connected to solar home systems and solar photovoltaic systems were installed countrywide


The World Bank efforts have through the Second Transport Sector Project resulted in the following:

  • Periodic maintenance works on about 339 km of rural roads in the Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso regions have been completed
  • Periodic maintenance on about 446 km of rural roads in the Mopti, Koulikoro and Sikasso regions began in March 2014

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2014


Mali is looking to benefit from a pilot World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Joint Management Action Plan. Donors are working together in 10 thematic groups: (1) agriculture and rural economy; (2) infrastructure development; (3) decentralization and institutional development; (4) macroeconomic management; (5) justice; (6) democratic process and civil society; (7) private sector development and microfinance; (8) education; (9) health; and (10) drinking water and sanitation. In January 2013, the Bank took over as chair of the existing donor coordination mechanism, the Troika, and is expected to play a key role in supporting government leadership during the post-conflict reconstruction period.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014

Country Office Contacts
Main Office Contact:

Moussa Diarra

Bureau de la Banque mondiale au Mali
B.P. 1864
Immeuble SOGEFIH
Centre Commercial rue 321
Quartier du Fleuve
Bamako, Mali
In Washington:
Paola Ridolfi
Country Program Coordinator

1818 H Street NW
Washington DC 20433