• Mali is a vast country with a population of almost 18 million (2016) and a highly undiversified economy. As such, it is vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations and (mostly desert with the Niger River bisecting it) the consequences of climate change. Although sparsely populated, with only 10% of its people living in the north, high population growth rates and drought have fueled food insecurity, poverty, and instability. The provision of public services in the country is challenging, affecting social cohesion and creating geographical disparities.

    Mali borders Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

    Political Context

    The political and security situation in Mali has been particularly volatile in recent years. In early 2012, there was a military coup and an 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.

    Presidential elections, held in the summer of 2013, were followed by local government elections in November 2016. 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 gives stronger impetus to decentralization, creating a role for these regions, as well as a development zone and program of accelerated development (Programme de développement accéléré du Nord). However, its implementation is not without challenges. Security, critical to economic recovery and poverty reduction, is fragile, in the face of continued attacks by armed groups on UN peacekeepers, the Malian army and civilians, mainly in the north and central regions.

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

    In July 2017, the Sahel Alliance was established by the EU, France, Germany, UNDP, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank, to assist with regional stabilization and the accelerated development of the G5 Sahel countries. Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom have since become members, while other partners are expected to join.

    The aim of the Alliance is to support the development priorities articulated in the National Development Plans of G5 Sahel countries, building on the strengths of the Sahel, to turn challenges into opportunities.

    Social Context

    While Mali experienced an overall drop in national poverty from 55.6% in 2001 to 43.6% in 2010, regional differences persist.

    Mali ranks 175th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index for 2016. 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 is strong, with robust growth. Robust performance in the agriculture and services sectors led to a projected growth rate of 5.8% in 2016 (down from 6.0% in 2015) despite volatile security conditions.

    Primary sector growth fell from 7.6% to 4.8% between 2016 and 2017, due to decreased rainfall, while tertiary sector growth has been robust (around 6% since 2014) following renewed dynamism in the ICT sector. On the demand side, investment has grown sharply by 8%, partly as a result of the increase in private investments for the first time since 2012, and partly as a result of the Government’s efforts to reduce infrastructure gaps.

    Inflation jumped from -1.8%, in 2016 to 1.6% in 2017, due to higher food prices and increased international oil prices.

    Notwithstanding a slight deterioration in the terms of trade, (due to increased oil prices and lower gold prices) the current external deficit (grants included) fell to 6.2% of GDP in 2017 compared to 7.2% in 2016, in line with fiscal consolidation.

    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, due 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 stay robust at about 5% over the medium term. Agricultural growth is underpinned by favorable weather and positive effects from input subsidy reform. Services growth will continue in telecoms, transport, and trade.

    On the demand side, investments may increase through the entry into force of the PPP law and the Sustainable Development Fund for regional development projects, especially in Mali’s north. Sustained efforts on fiscal consolidation—through the rationalization of current expenditure and improved tax revenue—would lower the fiscal balance from 3.3% of GDP in 2018 to 3.0% in 2019. However, debt sustainability is vulnerable to a tightening of financial conditions, such as lower remittances, lower foreign direct investment, or lower commodity prices. 

    Last Updated: Jun 01, 2018

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Mali

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

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of December 2016, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, had aggregated commitments of $33.6 million, comprising 8 projects (in infrastructure, financial institutions, and investments in the manufacturing sector).

    Among the major achievements of IFC MSME’s Access to Finance program are:

    • the investment of a $2.5M Risk Sharing Facility with Ecobank Mali and a $4M investment (loan, equity) in a microfinance company (Microcred Mali);
    • the creation of the Business Edge platform to train SMEs in management and business plans, and hence increase their bankability;
    • the development of the Africa Leasing Program to develop the legal and regulatory framework for the leasing sector so as to facilitate SME access to equipment.

    IFC also plays a major role in infrastructure with two Independent Power Producer (IPP) renewable energy projects, due to increase Mali’s capacity by 75MW.

    The development of the country’s agriculture is also a priority for IFC.


    Last Updated: Jun 01, 2018

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

    Agriculture and Livestock

    The Agriculture Competitiveness and Diversification Project (ACDP) has improved the productivity of some targeted agricultural products. Below are some project results:

    • The volume and value of products in three value chains (mangoes, shallot/onions, and potatoes) surpassed the project’s result, including a 668% increase in the volume of mangoes exported;
    • Access to financing for farmers and other private operators in the selected supply chains increased to 836 million francs CFA;
    • Some 612 medium-sized agribusiness investors received credit to acquire innovative technologies in micro-irrigation, post-harvest processing, or storage.

    The West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program seeks to scale-up the generation, dissemination, and adoption of improved technologies in priority agricultural commodity areas.

    • There was a record harvest in 2016-2017, following the distribution of 7,000 metric tons of seeds;
    • Some 685,000 persons (34% of them women) have benefited from the project. Around 447,800 hectares were worked with new technologies and 325,000 producers had access to certified seeds.
    • The e-voucher transaction system for the purchase of agricultural inputs is progressing satisfactorily, and has been used to distribute batches of inputs to nearly 40,000 vulnerable producers in northern Mali. An identical mechanism (a phased approach and identical database) will be used to deliver the inputs distributed by the Malian Government.


    Mali’s Second Transport Sector Project has 2.7 million beneficiaries and has increased the percentage of the rural population with access to all-season roads from 26% to 33% in the project area. The project also improved urban mobility in downtown Bamako.

    • 2,192 km of rural roads upgraded to all-weather roads in the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Segou, and Mopti.
    • 295 km of key, regional roads were rehabilitated in Mopti from Badiangara-Douentza (142 km) and in Kayes, from Badougou-Bafoulabe (150 km). Traffic grew from 10 vehicles a day to 323 vehicles a day and from 35 to 373 vehicles a day.
    • 4 river jetties were built in the Niger River’s interior delta at Diafarabe, Konna, and Tenenkou (Mopti) and Dioro (Segou).
    • 292 activities were carried out to improve local infrastructure, such as drilling potable water wells, building or repairing medical centers, solar energy, schools, or creating multi-functional agricultural platforms.

    Last Updated: Jun 01, 2018

  • 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 set priority areas for cooperation and coordinates aid. The World Bank is a key player in the technical pool that supports this mechanism. In 2016, the Bank chaired the energy and agricultural and rural economy group, and in 2017, took charge of the economy, finance, and private sector group, a mandate that it continues to fulfill in 2018.

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

    Last Updated: Jun 01, 2018



Mali: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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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
For project-related issues and complaints