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  • Mali, a vast Sahelian country, has a low-income economy that is undiversified and vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations. High population growth rates (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.

    After rising to 47.2% between 2011 and 2015 owing to the security crisis, the extreme poverty rate fell slightly to 42.7% in 2019 as a result of exceptionally high agricultural production in the past four years. Poverty is concentrated in the rural areas of southern Mali (90%), where the population density is the highest.

    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. The operations of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) date back to July 2014.

    President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, first elected in 2013, was reelected to a second term in August 2018. Parliamentary elections scheduled for the fall of 2018 were postponed several times. The first round took place on March 29, 2020, following an electoral campaign marked by the kidnapping of Soumaïla Cissé, head of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) opposition party, in Saraféré on March 25, 2020. In the first round, 12 of 147 representatives were reelected. The remaining 125 seats will be awarded following the second round scheduled for April 19, 2020.

    Peace negotiations between the government and two rebel coalitions, the “Platform” and the “Coordination,” concluded with the signing of an agreement in June 2015. This agreement provides for greater decentralization, creating a special development zone for Mali’s northern regions. It includes several projects, among them the program of accelerated development in the north (Programme de développement accéléré du Nord) and the 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 country is encountering difficulties with the implementation of this agreement.

    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.

    In July 2017, Germany, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, France, the European Union, and the United Nations Development Programme launched the Sahel Alliance in order to provide a coordinated and tailored response to the challenges faced by the G5 Sahel member countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Since that time, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom have joined the Alliance.

    Economic Overview

    • The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Malian economy has, thus far, been limited. As a net oil importer, the country is benefiting from the sharp drop in the price of crude. Mali's main export item is gold, a traditional safe haven in times of crisis. Consequently, the crisis is expected to lead to an improvement in its terms of trade, which would facilitate a reduction of the current account deficit.
    • These potential positive effects must, however, be viewed in perspective, especially since Mali faces the risk of a collapse in the prices of its agricultural exports and lower demand in the Euro zone. Furthermore, if the direct effects of the slowdown in China’s economic activity on Malian exports are moderate, Mali could experience importation difficulties in a situation where international value chains are disrupted.
    • Using a baseline scenario in which China and the European Union experience a modest economic downturn and oil prices decline by 25%, Mali’s GDP growth is projected to fall to 4.9% in 2020, against 5.1% in 2019.
    • In a more pessimistic scenario in which oil prices decline by 50%, the global economy experiences a very sharp downturn, and the virus spreads significantly among the Malian population, the impact on the Malian economy would be far greater. Social distancing measures and the lack of medical infrastructure to cope with the health crisis would disrupt domestic economic activity, leading to a roughly 4% decline in real GDP growth.
    • Mali has the fiscal and monetary space to implement countercyclical policies. It could, however, have difficulty sustaining itself financially in a context of global uncertainty and risk aversion on the part of investors. In the short term, it would be to the government’s advantage to redirect expenditure toward public health services and take steps to increase its sources of revenue, including revenue from international technical and financial partners.

    Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020

  • The work conducted by the World Bank Group in Mali is determined by a partnership framework designed to respond to Mali’s challenges following the 2012 crisis. The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s institution that provides assistance to the poorest nations in the world, is currently financing 22 national projects and 8 regional projects in Mali totaling $1.5 billion (grants and loans included). These projects support the development of many areas such as:

    • Energy;
    • Reconstruction and economic recovery;
    • Water and sanitation;
    • The empowerment of women;
    • The demographic dividend;
    • Education.

    On April 10, 2020, the World Bank also approved $25.8 million in emergency financing from IDA— a 50% grant and 50% credit—to help Mali with its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of December 31, 2019, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, had aggregated commitments of $33.8 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 general, with a view to attracting investors and developing the private sector.

    Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020

  • The following are some of the results obtained as a result of World Bank Group assistance:

    Safety Nets

    The Emergency Safety Nets Project “Jigisemejiri” (tree of hope) aims to reduce poverty and food insecurity. Between 2013 and June 2019:

    • 79,168 families received quarterly cash transfers in the Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Segou, Mopti, and Timbuktu regions and in the district of Bamako;
    • 105,000 persons 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 identified 350,000 vulnerable households eligible for contributory and non-contributory programs.
    • 60 highly labor-intensive community public works projects were carried out (construction of dikes and small dams; rehabilitation of community health centers and classrooms).

    Acces to Water and Sanitation

    Currently, 45% of Bamako’s residents do not have access to drinking water at home, while those who do, experience significant shortages. As part of a multi-donor program, the project to supply Bamako with drinking water from Kabala aims to provide safe drinking water to 95% of the population by 2025:

    • New production and storage facilities have already significantly reduced shortages for more than 600,000 persons, who now have uninterrupted service;
    • Launched in June 2019, the program to provide 110,000 social connections, 40,000 of which are funded by the World Bank, has already provided more than 80,000 persons with access to drinking water at home. In the coming months, this coverage will be extended to an additional 400,000 persons;
    • By 2022, the program will cover more than 1.6 million persons and will also facilitate access to drinking water by close to 400,000 persons through more than 1,200 standpipes, 25% of which will be funded by IDA.

    Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020

  • The World Bank Group works with Mali’s other technical and financial partners (bilateral and multilateral donors and the United Nations system on the ground). It also works closely with the private sector, civil society, municipalities, and universities.

    Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020



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
External Affairs Officer
+223 20 70 22 06
For project-related issues and complaints