It is 5 times the size of Britain, and is a large, landlocked West African country, with a population of 13 million, 49.2% aged under 15. Mali means ‘hippo’ in Bambara, an important Malian language. Mali is a country based on small-scale farming and growing, with only 33% of its population living in the main towns.
Capital: Bamako – means ‘old crocodile’ in Bambara – has the river Niger running through it.
Other Main Cities: Kayes, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Gao, Kidal, Timbuctu, Koulikoro.
Climate: Sub-tropical to arid. 30 C to 45 C.
Ethnic Groups: Bambara 50%, Fulani 17%, Dogon 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg 10%, other 5%.
Religions: Muslims 90%, Animists 9%, Christians 1%.
Official Language: French.
Natural Resources: Phosphate, salt, gold.
Terrain: Mostly flat to rolling plains, savannah in the South, hills in the NorthEast.
Agricultural Products: Cotton (second highest producer in Africa, after Egypt), millet, rice, peanuts, cattle, sheep , goats.
Export Commodities: Cotton, gold, livestock.
GDP per Capita: $930 as compared to $26150 in UK and $2670 in India. Mali is 140th out of 152 nations in recent international comparisons. An example of economic difference from recent figures is that there is one phone for every 100 people in Mali as agianst 143 for every 100 in Britain.
Infant Mortality: 119.63 per 1000 (5.45 in Britain).
Adult Literacy: 72% in 2003, reduced from 78% in 1995.
Life expectancy: 47years (78 in Britain).
Population below poverty line: 64% (30% in cities, 76% in rural areas) (World Bank definition).
Environmental Current Issues: Deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, poaching, inadequate supplies of water.
Government Type: Republic with democratically elected leader and parliament. In 2005, 10.2% of the elected members in Mali’s parliament were women as agianst 17.9% in the House of Commons.
Date of independance from France: 22nd September 1960
Others pages will be added in due course to expand on Mali in more detail.