• Country Overview

    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 delivery of services in such a large territory is challenging, affecting geographic equity and social cohesion.

    Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

    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 2013. In 2014, the French reorganized their anti-terrorist interventions in the Sahel, moving their operational headquarters to N’Djamena (Chad).

    Two rounds of presidential elections were held in July and August 2013. Local government elections took place in November 2016. Peace negotiations between government and two rebel coalitions, known as the “Platform” and “Coordination” groups, 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). The implementation of it is challenging, however. Security, critical to economic recovery and poverty reduction, is fragile, with attacks by armed groups on the UN force and the Malian army continuing, mostly in the north.

    Social Context

    While Mali experienced an overall drop in national poverty from 55.6% cent in 2001 to 43.6% in 2010, regional differences persist and, in 2013, the poverty rate rebounded to 45%.

    Mali ranks 176th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index for 2015. 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. With a lack of reliable estimates, there is a dire need to improve welfare measurements and data collection to better understand the livelihoods of poor households.

    Economic Overview

    Despite deteriorating security, economic performance is strong, with robust growth and, more recently, an apparent drop in poverty rates overall. Robust performance in the agriculture and services sectors led to an estimated growth rate of 5.8% in 2016 (down from 6.0% in 2015) despite volatile security conditions. Regardless of the peace 2015 agreements, the north is still difficult for the government to control, and insecurity has spread to the center and south regions.

    Primary sector growth accelerated from 6.9% in 2015 to 7.6% in 2016, thanks to good agriculture and rainfall, while tertiary sector growth has been robust (at about 6% since 2014) following renewed dynamism in the ICT sector. On the demand side, private consumption rose by 5.1%, driven by increased agricultural incomes in rural areas and stable food prices in urban areas. Meanwhile, gross fixed investment increased sharply by 14.9%, reflecting the government’s efforts to bridge infrastructure gaps, including those related to the Peace Agreement.

    Inflation has dropped to -1.8%, due to falling food prices and low international oil prices.

    Lower gold prices and increased imports for public investment contributed to widen the current account deficit from 5.3% of GDP in 2015 to 7.3% in 2016. The deficit was financed by net capital inflows, many in the form of aid and Foreign Direct Investment. The weakening external position sharply decreased foreign reserves. Broad money increased by 6.4% in 2016.

    Substantial public investments have contributed to deterioration in the fiscal position. The overall fiscal balance (including grants) widened from -1.8% of GDP in 2015 to -4.0% in 2016 due to increased public spending, despite big improvements in domestic revenue. Public expenditure and net lending to the central government rose sharply to 22.4 % of GDP from 20.9% in 2015, due to the expansion of capital expenditure. Improved fuel tax policy and reforms to broaden the tax base and rationalize exemptions allowed an increase of tax revenue by 1% of GDP.

    But though debt distress is moderate, public debt rose by 3% of GDP from 2014 to 2016.

    Mali is a member of the Western Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Monetary and exchange rate policies are managed at a regional level 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.

    In December 2016, the BCEAO increased the marginal lending facility rate from 3.5% to 4.5%, pushing up the cost of sovereign funds on the regional market. This measure was mitigated in March 2017, when BCEAO reduced the reserve requirement ratio from 5% to 3%.

    Growth is projected to stay robust at about 5% over the medium term, in line with Mali’s long-run potential growth rate. Agricultural growth is underpinned by favorable weather and positive effects from input subsidy reform. Services growth will continue in telecoms, transport, and trade. Inflation is projected to be moderate for as long as agricultural production keeps food prices at bay.

    On the demand side, investments may increase through the operationalization of the PPP law and the Sustainable Development Fund for regional development projects, especially in Mali’s north. The external current account deficit may reach 8.4% of GDP in 2017, but would gradually narrow to about 6.5% of GDP, in line with planned fiscal consolidation.

    The deficit is to be financed by a combination of FDI and external borrowing.

    Sustained efforts on fiscal adjustment—through the rationalization of current expenditure and improved tax revenue—would lower the fiscal balance from 4.3% of GDP in 2016 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: Oct 12, 2017

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Mali

    The World Bank Group (WBG) is implementing a program designed to respond to Mali’s post- crisis challenges. A new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) addresses obstacles to reducing poverty identified in the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) completed in June 2015.  

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of December 2016, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had aggregated commitments of $33.6 million, comprising 8 projects (2 in infrastructure, 2 supporting financial institutions, and 4 investments in manufacturing companies).

    The main achievements of IFC MSME’s Access to Finance program were (i) the investment of a $2.5M Risk Sharing Facility with Ecobank Mali and a $4M investment (loan, equity) in a microfinance company (Microcred Mali), (ii) the creation of the Business Edge platform to train SMEs in management and business plans, and hence increase their bankability; and (iii) 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 plays a role in infrastructure with two, major Independent Power Producer (IPP) renewable energy projects, due to increase Mali’s capacity by 75MW.

    The development of agriculture is a top priority, too, given the country’s potential and the role of agriculture to foster poverty reduction. IFC’s portfolio comprises 2 projects in milling and beverages, and IFC is working to support others where Mali has a competitive advantage.

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

  • 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 targeted horticultural/livestock products. Below are some project results:

    • The volume and value of products in three value chains (mangos, shallot/onions, and potatoes) surpassed the project’s result, with the exported volume of mangos increasing from 3,447 tons in 2006 to 37,572 in 2014 (by 668%).
    • Access to financing for farmers and other private operators in the selected supply chains increased to 836 million francs CFA out of the 880 million planned (32 credits files);
    • Some 612 medium-sized agribusiness investors got credit to acquire innovative technologies in micro-irrigation, storage, or post-harvest processing. These Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) were profitable and have remained so.
    • This project closed in June 2015, with its Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) rating satisfactory.

    The West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program seeks to scale-up the generation, dissemination, and adoption of improved technologies in priority agricultural commodity areas. The project has reached 685,000 beneficiaries (34% of them women). About 447,800 ha have new technologies against the 240,000 planned a year; certified seed reached 325,000 producers.

    An e-voucher transaction system is progressing satisfactorily, and been used to distribute kits of inputs to nearly 40,000 vulnerable producers in northern Mali. An agreement was reached to have the inputs distributed by the government through the same mechanism (step by step, using the same data base). But weaknesses in the network need to be resolved for the system to work.


    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 things were done to improve local infrastructure, such as drilling wells for potable water, building or repairing medical centers, solar energy, schools, or creating multi-functional agricultural platforms.


    Mali Emergency Education for all Project: The objective is to increase access to and improve the learning environment for students in targeted areas. It is a Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Grant of $41.7 million.

    The project has already delivered 789 equipped classrooms out of the 1,050 planned, allowing 40,050 new students to attend school. In addition, 133,516 students have benefited from 21 million meals out of the 27 million planned. All 27 million are due to be delivered by the end of this school year (2016-2017). In addition, the project has supported the training and setting-up of 1,300 parents’ committees for school-based management, including the management of the delivery of remedial classes to more than 30,000 students affected by the crisis, as well as the management of school canteens and students’ attendance. About 10,000 students’ desks and 30,000 kits were delivered to students in affected areas. Delays in contracts and the transfer of funds to schools have affected the pace of implementation, in particular in northern regions, where the project plans to rehabilitate schools and have a second phase of school construction. The project is due to be completed by the new closing date of December 2017. 

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

  • To facilitate the coordination of their work, the technical and financial partners (bilateral and multilateral donors and the UN system in Mali) are organized as follows: (i) an Executive Cooperation Group (GEC) headed by a group of three donors, and (ii) 10 sector-specific groups.

    The GEC brings together mission chiefs once a month. In consultation with the Government Of Mali, partners have developed a Joint Country Assistance Strategy (JCAS) that helps set priority areas for cooperation and to coordinate aid. The World Bank is a key player in the technical pool that supports this mechanism. In 2016, the Bank chaired the agricultural and rural economy and energy group, and in 2017, it is leading the economy, finance, and private sector group.

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

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017



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