Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1.8 million. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest in the world.
It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the upper and middle Niger valleys in the southwestern part of the country.
Bamako is the nation's administrative center. The city proper is a cercle in its own right. Bamako's river port is located in nearby Koulikoro, along with a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the seventh-largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar, and Accra. Locally manufactured goods include textiles, processed meat, and metal goods. Commercial fishing occurs on the Niger River.
The name Bamako (Bàmakɔ̌ in Bambara) comes from the Bambara word meaning "crocodile river".
|POPULATION :||City: 1,809,106 / Metro: 2,757,234|
|TIME ZONE :||Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-0)|
|LANGUAGE :||French (official), Bambara 80%,|
|RELIGION :||Muslim 90%, Christian 1%, indigenous beliefs 9%|
|AREA :||245.0 km2 (94.6 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||350 m (1,150 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||12°39′N 8°0′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 50.40%
• Female: 49.60%
|ETHNIC :||Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+223|
The city has only a few paved main roads (goudrons), the rest of the city's roads are unpaved, and get dusty during the dry season (November to May) and muddy during the rainy season, offering breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
The city can be hard to navigate through due to the lack of road signs, the complicated layout of the streets and the one way system in the city. The roads are very crowded both with motor vehicles and motorcycles who appear to fill every available space possible. Traffic police are particularly vigilant and will sometimes appear to enforce very arbitrary traffic rules. They are usually on motorcycles as well so it is unwise to try and outrun them in your vehicle as they will easily catch up.
Often the best way to navigate around the city is to hire a taxi-motorcycle to lead you to your destination. These are relatively cheap.There is no meter and price is negotiated upfront.
The area of the city has been continuously inhabited since the Palaeolithic era for more than 150,000 years. The fertile lands of the Niger River Valley provided the people with an abundant food supply and early kingdoms in the area grew wealthy as they established trade routes linking across west Africa, the Sahara, and leading to northern Africa and Europe.
By the late 19th century, the French dominated much of western Africa, and in 1883, present-day Mali became part of the colony of French Sudan, and was its capital in 1908. Cotton and rice farming was encouraged through large irrigation projects and a new railroad connected Mali to Dakar on the Atlantic coast.
Mali gained independence from France in April 1960, and the Republic of Mali was later established. At this time, Bamako had a population of around 160,000. During the 1960s, the country became socialist and Bamako was subject to Soviet investment and influence. However, the economy declined as state enterprises collapsed and unrest was widespread.Eventually, Moussa Traoré led a successful coup and ruled Mali for 23 years. However his rule was characterised by severe droughts and poor government management and problems of food shortages.
On 22 March 1991, a large-scale protest march in central Bamako was violently suppressed, with estimates of those killed reaching 300. Four days later, a military coup deposed Traoré. The Comité de Transition pour le Salut du Peuple was set up, headed by General Amadou Toumani Touré.Alpha Oumar Konari officially became president on 26 April 1992.
On 20 November 2015, two gunmen took 170 people hostage in Radisson Blu hotel. 21 people‚ including three Chinese businessmen were killed in the "Bamako hotel attack" along with the two gunmen during the seven–hour siege.
Bamako features a Tropical savanna climate.
Located between the Sahara to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south, Bamako is very hot on average all year round with the warmest months being March, April, and May.
The coolest months are November to February. During the winter, rainfall is scarce with little falling from October to April and virtually none between December and February.
The rainy season occurs in the summer with the peak in July, August, and September.
Bamako is situated on the Niger River floodplain, which hampers development along the riverfront and the Niger's tributaries. Bamako is relatively flat, except to the immediate north where an escarpment is found, being what remains of an extinct volcano. The Presidential Palace and main hospital are located here.
Originally, the city developed on the northern side of the river, but as it grew, bridges were developed to connect the north with the south.
The traditional commercial center of Bamako was located to the north of the river, and contained within a triangle bounded by Avenue du Fleuve, Rue Baba Diarra, and Boulevard du Peuple. This area contains the Marché Rose and Street Market.
The downtown area is highly congested, polluted, and expensive, and urbanization is sprawling at a rapid pace within a radius of 30 kilometres (19 mi). The largest urbanized area now lies on the southern bank of the Niger River. A modern central business district is rapidly developing immediately west of the downtown area in the ACI-2000 district, taking advantage of a well-designed geometric layout, legacy of the old airport runways and taxiways.
Bamako is also the headquarters of many large companies and administrative institutions.
Bamako received much investment by Saudi Arabia for decades which saw a number of important structures being built. In recent years, China has become an important investor in Bamako, developing its infrastructure and facilities.
Agriculture is active in Bamako, with the presence of Bozo fisherman, and it is common to see cattle crossing the streets. However, the most important by far is the manufacturing and service sector. The District of Bamako concentrates 70% of industrial activity.
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