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Destination Mali, a virtual guide to the Republic of Mali, a landlocked country in interior Western Africa, parts in the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while its central parts are in the Sahel zone, more than half of the country is desert. |
Mali is divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanian zone, a broad belt of tropical savanna, the central, semiarid Sahel zone, a transition zone in Africa between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south; the northern part of Mali lies in the hot desert of the Sahara.
Mali is bordered by Algeria in north, by Niger in east, by Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire in south, by Guinea in south-west, and by Senegal and Mauritania in west.
With an area of 1,241,238 km² the country is 3.5 times the size of Germany, or slightly less than twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas. Located in the central part of the country is Mount Hombori Tondo, with 1155 m, it is the highest point in Mali. Mali's climate ranges from subtropical to arid, hot and dry.
The majority of its inhabitants of 14.5 million live in the country's southern region. Capital and largest city is Bamako. Spoken languages are French and Bambara (Bamanankan).
Read on to get an overview of Mali's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Mud houses on the center island at Lac Debo (Lake Debo), a wide section of the Niger River, in Mali
Image: Jialiang Gao
Republic of Mali | République de Mali
Flag of Mali
République de Mali
int'l long form: Republic of Mali
short form: Mali
former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic
ISO Country Code: ml
Actual Time: Fri-Aug-26 19:56
Local Time = UTC (0h; no UTC/GMT offset)
Country Calling Code: +223
Capital City: Bamako (pop. 1 million)
Segou (200 000), Sikasso (120 000),
Mopti (90 000), Gao (65 000), Kayes (65 000), Timbuktu (38 000)
Independence: 22 September 1960 (from France).
Location: Western Africa, southwest of Algeria.
Area: 1,240,000 km² (474,764 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Savannah and desert.
Climate: Semitropical in the south; arid in the north.
Population: 14,5 million (2009)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 1,084 (year)
Ethnic groups: Manding, Mande (Bambara or Bamana, Malinke, Sarakole, Soninke) 50%, Fulani, Songhai, Voltaic, Tuareg and Maur.
Religions: Islam 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%.
Languages: French (official) and Bambara (spoken by about 80% of the population).
Literacy: 30-45%. (est.)
Gold, phosphate, kaolin, salt, and limestone.
Agriculture Products, (42% of GDP): millet, sorghum, corn, rice, livestock, sugar, cotton, Groundnuts (peanuts), and tobacco.
Agriculture products: Cotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats.
Industries: Food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining.
Exports - commodities: cotton, gold, livestock
Exports partners: China 52.9%, Malaysia 11%, Indonesia 5.3%, India 4.1% (2012)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles
Imports partners: France 11.2%, Senegal 9.9%, Cote d'Ivoire 8.7%, China 8.6% (2012)
Currency: CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)
The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 with a transitional government, and in 1992 when Mali's first democratic presidential election was held. Since his reelection in 1997, President KONARE has continued to push through political and economic reforms and to fight corruption. In 1999 he indicated he would not run for a third term. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, KONARE stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was subsequently elected to a second term in 2007. The elections were widely judged to be free and fair.
related countries: France
Note: External links will open in a new browser window.
Official Sites of Mali
Many government websites seem to be down or unavailable, it might be in connection with the unclear situation in Bamako, where an army mutiny takes place since 21 March 2012. Rebel troops have appeared on Malian state TV to announce they have seized control of the country, hours after attacking the presidential palace.
Présidence de la République du Mali
Official site of the presidency of the Republic of Mali provides information about the President and the Republic.
Ministère de la Culture du Mali
The Ministry of Culture.
Maliens de l'Extérieur
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mali (in French).
Embassy of Mali
Mali's Embassy in Washington with visa, country and travel information.
Mali Embassies Abroad
Address list of Mali's Diplomatic Missions Abroad.
Mali visa applications
Information on Visas for Mali.
Map of Mali
Political and administrative Map of Mali.
Google Earth Mali
Searchable map and satellite view of Mali.
Google Earth Bamako
Searchable map and satellite view of Mali's capital city.
Political Map of Africa
The 54 countries of Africa.
Map of Africa
A Relief Map of Africa.
Fisher on Niger river
Photo: Manfred Schweda
According to BBC and other press organisations, Mali's broadcast and print media are among the freest in Africa.
Africa News Mali
Mali Headlines by Africa News.
State-owned national daily published in Bamako provides national and international news. (in French)
Privately-owned daily. (in French)
Mali news. (in French)
News from and about Mali.
Agence Malienne de presse et de publicité (AMAP)
Office de la Radiodiffusion Television du Mali (ORTM)
Mali's public television and radio, programmes are in French and local languages. (in French)
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Arts & CultureMinistère de la Culture
Official site of the Ministry of Culture provides information on Malian culture.
Album photos du Mali
Mali images from a tour through Dogon country on a motorbike.
Photos Bamako sur la Galerie de L'internaute
Photo gallery related to Mali.
Music of Mali
Djeli ya - Griots et Musiciens du Mali
Traditional music of Mali, now archived on ReoCities.
Festival on the Niger
Music and dance festival at Segou.
Griots of West Africa & Beyond
Backgrond information on the tradition of Griots.
Malian kora musician, Mamadou Diabate is a member of the Mandinka West African jeli (musician caste) family.
Business & EconomyMali depends on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Mali is among the 25 poorest countries in the world
Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
Central Bank of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (in French)
IZF.net, le portail de la Zone Franc CFA
Information about business and investment in the African countries within the monetary system of the Franc Zone - CFA. (in French)
National Federation of the Craftsmen of Mali
Organisation to support craftsmen of Mali (French, site seems offline)
Yellow pages Mali.
Tourist Office of Mali
Tourism Mali page with information about the country.
Mali portal with country information. (in French)
Au Coeur du Mali
Mali portal (in French).
Mali tourism information site with a photo gallery.
Images and Sights of Mali
Beautiful private page about Mali.
Site about the Kidal Sahara region in northwestern Mali. (in French)
Mysterious Places: Mali
Malian Magic - Journey to Mali, West Africa.
Photogallery of the Dogon people.
A site of a documentation about the Dogon blacksmiths.
World Heritage Sites of Mali
Old Towns of Djenné
Djenné one of the oldest towns of sub-Saharan Africa was inhabited since 250 B.C., the town became a market center and an important link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was one of the centers for the propagation of Islam. Its traditional houses, of which nearly 2,000 have survived, are built on hillocks as protection from the seasonal floods.
Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a center for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu's golden age. Although continuously restored, these monuments are today under threat from desertification.
Travel and Tour Consumer Information
Roof of the Djenne Mosque
Image: Albert Backer
EducationLycée Français Liberté
The school's homepage, Bamako (in French).
Université de Bamako
The University of Bamako is a public university in Mali's capital Bamako, it is also known as the University of Mali.
Environment & NatureCinzana Agricultural Research station
Dedicated to producing sustainable increases in crop production and productivity through improved seed breeding.
Institut d'Economie Rurale du Mali
Institute for the research of agricultural development and preservation of natural resources based in Bamako.
Mount Hombori Project
Long-term monitoring of the biodiversity of Mount Hombori and its region located south of Timbuktu.
Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)
Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (in French).
Histoire du Mali : D'un empire a une République
Mali's History "From an empire to a republic" by "Au Coeur du Mali". (in French)
Histoire de l'Afrique de l'Ouest
Site about history of West Africa, including Mali. (in French)
Kingdoms of the Medieval Sudan
Site provides a narrative historical overview of Mali, Songhay, Kanem-Bornu, and Hausaland before the modern era.
Mali Interactive Project
Information about the archaeological site of Jenné-jeno ("ancient Jenné")
History of Mali
Wikipedia articles about Mali's history.
Street Scene at Segou
SearchOpen Directory Project: Mali
Additional Information on MaliAfrica South of the Sahara: Mali
Background information on Mali collected by Karen Fung.
BBC News Country Profile: Mali
Upenn - African Studies Center: Mali
The World Factbook -- Mali
Other Countries in Western Africa
Benin | Burkina Faso | Cape Verde | Côte d'Ivoire | Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Liberia
Mauritania | Niger | Nigeria | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Togo
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