Mali's economy is based to a large extent on agriculture, with an overwhelmingly rural population, many of whom are engaged in subsistence agriculture. Cotton is the country's largest crop export and is exported west throughout Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. During 2002, 620,000 tons of cotton were produced in Mali but cotton prices declined significantly in 2003. In addition to cotton, Mali produces rice, millet, corn, vegetables, tobacco and tree crops. Gold, livestock and agriculture amount to 80% of Mali's exports. 80% of Malian workers are employed in agriculture while 15% work in the service sector. The most productive agricultural area lies along the banks of the Niger River, the Inner Niger Delta and the southwestern region around Sikasso. However, seasonal variations lead to regular temporary unemployment of agricultural workers. Mali's resource in livestock consists of millions of cattle, sheep, and goats. Approximately 40% of Mali's herds were lost during the Sahel drought in 1972-74.
Mining has long been an important aspect of the Malian economy. In 1991, with the assistance of the International Development Association, Mali relaxed the enforcement of mining codes which led to renewed foreign interest and investment in the mining industry. Gold is mined in the southern region and Mali has the third highest gold production in Africa (after South Africa and Ghana). The emergence of gold as Mali’s leading export product since 1999 has helped mitigate some of the negative impact of the cotton and Côte d’Ivoire crises. Other natural resources include kaolin, salt, phosphate and limestone. The government is also trying to generate interest in the potential of extracting petroleum from the Taoudeni basin.
The Malian government participates in foreign involvement, concerning commerce and privatisation. 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, 16 enterprises were privatised, 12 partially privatised, and 20 liquidated. In 2005, the Malian government conceded a railway company to the Savage Corporation. Two major companies, Societé de Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) and the Cotton Ginning Company (CMDT), are expected to be privatised in 2008. Mali is a member of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average worker's annual salary is approximately $1,500. Between 1992 and 1995, Mali implemented an economic adjustment program that resulted in economic growth and a reduction in financial imbalances. The program increased social and economic conditions, and led to Mali joining the World Trade Organisation on 31 May 1995. The gross domestic product (GDP) has risen since. In 2002, the GDP amounted to $3.4 billion, and increased to $5.8 billion in 2005, which amounts to an approximately 17.6% annual growth rate.
Economy - overview :
Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country highly dependent on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. The country's fiscal status fluctuates with gold and agricultural commodity prices and the harvest. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River and about 65% of its land area is desert or semi-desert. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labour force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. The government has continued an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that has helped the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali is developing its cotton and iron ore extraction industries to diversify its revenue sources because gold production has started to fall. Mali has invested in tourism but security issues are hurting the industry. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a 5% average in 1996-2010. Worker remittances and external trade routes for the landlocked country have been jeopardised by continued unrest in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire. However, Mali is building a road network that will connect it to all adjacent countries and it has a railway line to Senegal. In 2010, Mali experienced a regional drought that hurt livestock and livelihoods.
GDP (purchasing power parity) :
$16.77 billion (2010 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate) :
$9.268 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate :
4.5% (2010 est.)
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