• Mali is a vast, semi-arid, landlocked country in the Sahelian belt. It is a low-income country with an undiversified economy that is vulnerable to raw material price fluctuations.  High population growth rates (with a fertility rate of six children per woman in 2017) and climate change pose major risks 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 Keïta, first elected in 2013, 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. This agreement provides an impetus for greater decentralization, creating a special development zone for Mali’s northern regions 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, implementation of the peace agreement has encountered difficulties. Security, which is critical for economic recovery and poverty reduction, remains 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 address these security 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 EU, France, Germany, UNDP, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank to help stabilize the region and accelerate the 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 efforts of the G5 Sahel countries.

    Economic Overview

    • Economic growth fell for the third year in a row, standing at 4.7% in 2018. The slowdown can be attributed to spreading insecurity in the central regions of the country and uncertainty about the presidential elections.  Growth nevertheless remained robust thanks to satisfactory gold output and a good agricultural season. On the demand side, public investment shrank by 2.4 percentage points of GDP, as the government had to consolidate expenditures in response to falling revenue. Inflation dropped marginally from 1.8% in 2017 to 1.7% in 2018, owing to favorable meteorological conditions and the resulting high agricultural production.
    • Strong cotton and gold exports reduced the external current account deficit from 7.3% of GDP in 2017 to 3.7% of GDP in 2018. Mali also had a record-breaking cotton harvest that significantly boosted cotton exports (+28%), and gold production soared (+21%) following the implementation of new gold mining projects. The deficit was financed through a combination of FDI (20%) and external concessional loans (80%).
    • The budget deficit increased from 2.9% of GDP in 2017 to 4.7% of GDP in 2018, while revenue declined by 4.5% of GDP. This may be attributable to lower tax revenues as a result of the worsening security situation, tax evasion, and an increase in fuel tax waivers triggered by higher global oil prices, as well as to sluggish growth and delays in the issuance of a new telecommunications license. In response, the government reduced public spending from 23% of GDP in 2017 to 20.2% of GDP in 2018. The deficit nevertheless grew and was largely financed by regional bond issues, owing to insufficient external aid.
    • Growth is projected to approach 5% over the medium term, which is in line with Mali’s growth potential rate. The tertiary sector will be one of the main drivers of growth, particularly the telecommunications and transport industries and, to a lesser degree, business and financial services.

    Social Context

    Mali ranks 182 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. Fueled by drought and war, 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.

    After rising between 2011 and 2013 as a result of the security crisis, the extreme poverty rate dipped slightly from 43.4% in 2017 to an estimated 41.3% in 2019 on the strength of exceptional agricultural production over these three previous years. 

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Mali

    The World Bank Group is implementing a partnership framework designed to respond to Mali’s challenges following the 2012 crisis. The World Bank is currently financing 22 national projects and 8 regional projects in Mali worth a total of $1.5 billion (grants and loans included). These projects support the development of several areas such as energy, reconstruction, economic recovery, water and sanitation, the empowerment of women, the demographic dividend, and education.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of June 2019, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, had aggregated commitments of $34.3 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 improve the business climate, in collaboration with the World Bank.

    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, along the lines of its recent investment in a shea almond processing plant;
    • proposing suitable financial products for local financial institutions and building their capacity to improve access to financing for underserved segments;
    • developing lower-cost renewable energy infrastructure;
    • improving the business environment in targeted areas, such as transport, logistics, and agribusiness.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

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


    The Fostering Agricultural Productivity Project for Mali (PAPAM) 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 types of support provided under the project. The average total rice yield using an irrigation and drainage system in Sabalibougou has increased, 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.

    PAPAM also facilitated the development of 500 hectares of farmland in M'Bewani, which is also in the Office du Niger zone. The project’s 135 beneficiary households planted crops in July 2019 and hope to harvest 7 metric tons per hectare (roughly 3, 318 metric tons) in November.


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

    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 municipalities have improved steadily (around 50%) as the capacity of municipal 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 municipalities.  These mechanisms are being institutionalized at the national level.

    Social Safety Nets

    An Emergency Safety Nets Project “Jigisemejiri” (tree of hope) was introduced to mitigate poverty and food security. The following results were achieved between 2013 and June 2019:

    • 79,168 families received quarterly cash transfers in the Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Segou, Sikasso, Mopti, and Timbuktu 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 (ANAM);
    • The Unified Social Registry contains information from 350,000 households benefiting from contributory and non-contributory programs.  

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • Mali’s technical and financial partners (bilateral and multilateral donors and the UN system in Mali) are coordinated by an Executive Cooperation Group (GEC) headed by the World Bank, with the assistance of MINUSMA and 10 sector-specific groups.

    To support the government of Mali in the implementation of the new Strategic Framework for Economic Development and Sustainable Development (CREDD) for 2019-2023, the GEC has developed a Consultation Code of Conduct (TRIPLE C) for Mali’s technical and financial partners. This code sets out priority areas for cooperation and coordinates aid.  The World Bank is a key player in the technical pool that supports this mechanism. The World Bank Group also works closely with the private sector, civil society, municipalities, and universities.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019



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