Sekondi Accra

Long considered one of the crown jewels of ancient african civilization with renown places such as Dogon and Timbuktu, today Mali has captured the attention of western civilizations because of the presence of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) of its northern region. Al-Qaeda has been linked to drug trafficking, hostage taking and suicide bombings throughout the middleast and some parts of Africa. To confront this threat, Malian authorities have tried since 2007 to organize a conference on the regional fight against terrorism. However, those calls have received little response because Mali's neighbors, led by Algeria and Mauritania, accuse Bamako of laxity and have stated that ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure' was equivocal.

During March of 2012, President Toure's government fell victim to a military coup by Amadou Haya Sanogo, a 39-year-old American-trained captain who has made rambling declarations on state television promising elections and human rights. The United States intelligence services claim that they have identified links between AQIM leaders and members of the ex-president's entourage who had received part of the ransoms paid by western governments to free hostages taken by the AQIM.

Captain Sanogo has appointed 70-year-old Dioncounda Traore as interim president. Mr. Traore was attacked by a mob inside his office in Bamako on May 21, the eve of the official start of a transition period for a return to democratic rule. The transitional government's efforts to escape a post-coup crisis faces uncertainty because key political parties are calling for the prime minister to resign. Interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra has until July 31 to formulate a unity government, demanded by regional mediators to deal with the deepening hold of hardline Islamists on the north, which they seized four months ago.

As a result of the recent political unrest, Mali's financial reputation is in jeopardy. Before Toure's overthrow, the country's economic performance was notable. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the GDP growth rate will continue to rise from 4.4% in 2009 to reach 5.1% in 2010 and 5.4% in 2011. Inflation was under control at about 2%, and the government respects most of the convergence criteria of the Union Economique et Monettaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA). The country will continue on its path to higher growth in 2011 primarily because of high gold prices. Construction is increasing along with public investment in infrastructure of airports, bridges, hospitals and roads.

The government infrastructure projects are consistent and focus on sectors such as architecture, electricity and transportation. On October 14, 2010, Energie du Mali inaugurated the SOPAM heavy-fueled power station which will add production of 55 megawatts, (MW) enough to supply power to 300,000 homes and meet about 30% of the country's electricity demand. In March 2010, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade was in Bamako to announce plans for a new Senegal-Mali railroad to replace the one dating back to 1886. Construction has also started on a second bridge on the Faleme River.

Agriculture, which already represents 36% of the GDP, is also set to further expand the economy through soliciting funds from national investors which include: AMI, GDCM and UEMOA. In addition, the Millennium Challenge Account, Communaute des Etats Sahelo-Sahariens and Tomota are all financing large agricultural projects. The 2010-11 season should produce approximately 7.5 tons of cereals. Encouraged by rising prices cotton producers expect yields in excess of 300,000 tons in 2011, a bountiful 50% increase above the previous season.

In a multimillion dollar scheme to produce rice for his country, deceased dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi acquired 250,000 acres of land in the inland Niger River delta of Mali and constructed a vast canal system for irrigation. The undertaking, known as the Malibya Project, required displacing hundreds of local farmers while depriving many others of an essential water supply, but the Malian government-long dependent on the Libya for economic assistance-had allowed the work to proceed. However, with Qaddafi's death Libya has been unable to meet its financial obligations, the program has been halted.

On the political front, the National Assembly rejected the new family code intended to improve women's rights in 2009. However, the government will vote on it again in 2011, with many of the progressive elements removed to appease religious groups. Another highly anticipated project is President Amadou Toumani Toure' attempt to achieve constitutional reform. The new draft fundamental law would rebalance power between the branches of government and create a senate and permanent election commission.

High profile politicians including oppositionist leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a former prime minister and the president of the Reassemblement pour le Mali and Soumaila Cisse, the founder of the Union pour le Republique et la Democratie and current president of the UEMOA Commission, are among the presidential hopefuls for 2012. Some political analysts conjecture that the aformentioned politicians may form an alliance to challenge Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe, the likely candidate of President Amadou Toumani Toure's new party, the Parti pour le Developpement et la Solidarite'.


Official Data


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The U.S. Embassy is located at ACI 2000 Rue 243, Porte 297, Bamako, tel.: (223) 2070 2300, fax: (223) 2070 2479. The embassy website is
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