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Mali

Introduction

Introduction

Mali , officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du Mali), is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako. Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 (U.S.) a day. A majority of the population (55%) are non-denominational Muslims.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.

In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, which Tuareg rebelstook control of by April and declared the secession of a new state, Azawad. The conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and later fighting between Tuareg and Islamist rebels. In response to Islamist territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month later, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second round run-off held on 11 August, and legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.


Climate

The country's climate ranges from tropical savannah (trees and grass, with tree density increasing as one travels south) in the south to arid desert in the north, with sahel in between. Much of the country receives negligible rainfall; droughts are frequent. Late May or early June (depending on how north one is) to mid or late October or early November is the rainy season. During this time, flooding of the Niger River is common, creating the Inner Niger Delta. After the rainy season is a cooler period when many plants are still green; this is from early November to around early February. From mid February until the rains start in May or June is the hot, dry, period, with daytime temperatures reaching maximum in March and April. This time of year is hot and extremely parched.


Geography

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, located southwest of Algeria. It lies between latitudes 10° and 25°N, and longitudes 13°Wand 5°E. Mali is bordered by Algeria to the north, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire to the south, Guinea to the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania to the west.

At 1,242,248 square kilometres (479,635 sq mi), including the disputed region of Azawad, Mali is the world's 24th-largest country and is comparable in size to South Africa or Angola. Most of the country lies in the southern Sahara Desert, which produces an extremely hot, dust-laden Sudanian savanna zone. Mali is mostly flat, rising to rolling northern plains covered by sand. The Adrar des Ifoghas massif lies in the northeast.

Mali lies in the torrid zone and is among the hottest countries in the world. The thermal equator, which matches the hottest spots year-round on the planet based on the mean daily annual temperature, crosses the country. Most of Mali receives negligible rainfall and droughts are very frequent. Late June to early December is the rainy season in the southernmost area. During this time, flooding of the Niger River is common, creating the Inner Niger Delta. The vast northern desert part of Mali has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification (BWh) with long, extremely hot summers and scarce rainfall which decreases northwards. The central area has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification (BSh) with very high temperatures year-round, a long, intense dry season and a brief, irregular rainy season. The little southern band possesses a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification (Aw) very high temperatures year-round with a dry season and a rainy season.

Mali has considerable natural resources, with gold, uranium, phosphates, kaolinite, salt and limestone being most widely exploited. Mali is estimated to have in excess of 17,400 tonnes of uranium (measured + indicated + inferred). In 2012, a further uranium mineralized north zone was identified. Mali faces numerous environmental challenges, including desertification, deforestation, soil erosion, and inadequate supplies of potable water.


Economy

The Central Bank of West African Stateshandles the financial affairs of Mali and additional members of the Economic Community of West African States. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average worker's annual salary is approximately US$1,500.

Mali underwent economic reform, beginning in 1988 by signing agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. During 1988 to 1996, Mali's government largely reformed public enterprises. Since the agreement, sixteen enterprises were privatized, 12 partially privatized, and 20 liquidated. In 2005, the Malian government conceded a railroad company to the Savage Corporation. Two major companies, Societé de Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) and the Cotton Ginning Company (CMDT), were expected to be privatized in 2008.

Between 1992 and 1995, Mali implemented an economic adjustment programme that resulted in economic growth and a reduction in financial imbalances. The programme increased social and economic conditions, and led to Mali joining the World Trade Organization on 31 May 1995.

Mali is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa(OHADA). The gross domestic product (GDP) has risen since. In 2002, the GDP amounted to US$3.4 billion, and increased to US$5.8 billion in 2005, which amounts to an approximately 17.6 percent annual growth rate.

Mali is a part of "French Zone" (Zone Franc), which means that it uses CFA franc. Mali is connected with the French government by agreement since 1962 (creation of BCEAO). Today all seven countries of BCEAO (including Mali) are connected to French Central Bank.


Demographics

In July 2009, Mali's population was an estimated 14.5 million. The population is predominantly rural (68 percent in 2002), and 5–10 percent of Malians are nomadic. More than 90 percent of the population lives in the southern part of the country, especially in Bamako, which has over 1 million residents.

In 2007, about 48 percent of Malians were younger than 12 years old, 49 percent were 15–64 years old, and 3 percent were 65 and older. The median age was 15.9 years. The birth rate in 2014 is 45.53 births per 1,000, and the total fertility rate (in 2012) was 6.4 children per woman. The death rate in 2007 was 16.5 deaths per 1,000. Life expectancy at birth was 53.06 years total (51.43 for males and 54.73 for females). Mali has one of the world's highest rates of infant mortality, with 106 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007.


Ethnicity

Mali's population encompasses a number of sub-Saharan ethnic groups. The Bambara(Bambara: Bamanankaw) are by far the largest single ethnic group, making up 36.5 percent of the population.

Collectively, the Bambara, Soninké, Khassonké, and Malinké (also called Mandinka), all part of the broader Mandégroup, constitute 50 percent of Mali's population. Other significant groups are the Fula (French: Peul; Fula: Fulɓe) (17 percent), Voltaic (12 percent), Songhai (6 percent), and Tuareg and Moor (10 percent).

In the far north, there is a division between Berber-descendent Tuareg nomad populations and the darker-skinned Bella or Tamasheq people, due to the historical spread of slavery in the region. An estimated 800,000 people in Mali are descended from slaves. Slavery in Mali has persisted for centuries. The Arabic population kept slaves well into the 20th century, until slavery was suppressed by French authorities around the mid-20th century. There still persist certain hereditary servitude relationships, and according to some estimates, even today approximately 200,000 Malians are still enslaved.

Although Mali has enjoyed a reasonably good inter-ethnic relationships based on the long history of coexistence, some hereditary servitude and bondage relationship exist, as well as ethnic tension between settled Songhai and nomadic Tuaregs of the north. Due to a backlash against the northern population after independence, Mali is now in a situation where both groups complain about discrimination on the part of the other group. This conflict also plays a role in the continuing Northern Mali conflict where there is a tension between both Tuaregs and the Malian government, and the Tuaregs and radical Islamists who are trying to establish sharia law.


Religion

Islam was introduced to West Africa in the 11th century and remains the predominant religion in much of the region. An estimated 90 percent of Malians are Muslim (mostly Sunni and Ahmadiyya), approximately 5 percent are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant) and the remaining 5 percent adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs. Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis.

The constitution establishes a secular stateand provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right.

Islam as historically practiced in Mali has been moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions; relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths have generally been amicable.After the 2012 imposition of sharia rule in northern parts of the country, however, Mali came to be listed high (number 7) in the Christian persecution index published by Open Doors, which described the persecution in the north as severe.


Economy

The Central Bank of West African Stateshandles the financial affairs of Mali and additional members of the Economic Community of West African States. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average worker's annual salary is approximately US$1,500.

Mali underwent economic reform, beginning in 1988 by signing agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. During 1988 to 1996, Mali's government largely reformed public enterprises. Since the agreement, sixteen enterprises were privatized, 12 partially privatized, and 20 liquidated. In 2005, the Malian government conceded a railroad company to the Savage Corporation. Two major companies, Societé de Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) and the Cotton Ginning Company (CMDT), were expected to be privatized in 2008.

Between 1992 and 1995, Mali implemented an economic adjustment programme that resulted in economic growth and a reduction in financial imbalances. The programme increased social and economic conditions, and led to Mali joining the World Trade Organization on 31 May 1995.

Mali is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa(OHADA). The gross domestic product (GDP) has risen since. In 2002, the GDP amounted to US$3.4 billion, and increased to US$5.8 billion in 2005, which amounts to an approximately 17.6 percent annual growth rate.

Mali is a part of "French Zone" (Zone Franc), which means that it uses CFA franc. Mali is connected with the French government by agreement since 1962 (creation of BCEAO). Today all seven countries of BCEAO (including Mali) are connected to French Central Bank.

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