• The Malian economy was in recession in 2012, with negative growth of -1.5%, compared to the initial forecast of +5.6%. It is forecast to rebound to +5.4% in 2013 thanks to the dynamism of the agriculture and gold sectors, plus the resumption of international aid.

  • The poverty rate increased from 41.7% in 2011 to 42.7% in 2012 as a result of the food, political and security crises.

  • While natural resources – in particular gold and cotton – play a vital role in the economy, the textile and gold-refining industries need to be developed.

Overview

In addition to the food crisis that began in 2011, the 22 March 2012 coup d’état marked the beginning of a serious political crisis, with armed groups occupying the three northern regions (two-thirds of the national territory) between April 2012 and January 2013. An African and French military intervention was carried out against these groups in January 2013. Consequently, the economy largely ground to a halt in 2012, and international co‑operation was suspended. Real GDP growth was -1.5% in 2012 due to the weak performance of the secondary (-2.2%) and tertiary (-8.8%) sectors. For its part, the primary sector grew by 8.1%.

Despite the recession and the suspension of international aid, the government pursued a policy of fiscal discipline in 2012. It restored its relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2013 and obtained a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of USD 18 million.

The economy is forecast to come out of recession, with growth projected at 5.4% in 2013 and 5.1% in 2014. This growth will be driven by rice, cotton and gold production, as well as by the creation of a third mobile network operator. That said, political instability, economic crisis and war in the north of the country still pose downside risks for 2013 and 2014.

The food, security and political crises have all exacerbated poverty. The poverty rate increased from 41.7% in 2011 to 42.7% in 2012. A serious humanitarian crisis began in January 2012, with 237 000 displaced persons, 410 000 refugees and at least 4.6 million Malians at risk of food insecurity. The government honoured its spending commitments on education, health and social protection, which made up 33.45% of total expenditure. Social indicators have improved in recent years, but progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 remains mixed. Mali is on track to achieve universal primary education (goal 2), combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (goal 6) and ensure environmental sustainability (goal 7), including the provision of drinking water. It will almost certainly fail to achieve the other goals, however. The Islamist groups that occupied the northern regions for nine months pillaged healthcare centres, pharmacies and schools, putting a significant dent in progress made.

Earnings from gold production represent about 25% of GDP and 75% of export revenue. Gold’s place in the economy has continued to grow over the past twenty years. Despite this, there has been no endogenous creation of added value through beneficiation. Development of the mining sector (7.6% of GDP) has also not led to the creation of national operators and service providers.

Cotton makes up about 1% of GDP and 15% of export revenue. Following the crisis that began in the 1997/98 season, the sector is doing relatively well. The government subsidises material inputs, guarantees prices for producers and provides support and advice to producer organisations. Among other positive factors are the restructuring of the Malian textile development company (Compagnie malienne de développement du textile, CMDT) and stable global cotton prices. The increase in production has not however been accompanied by the development of a local cotton processing industry.

Figure 1: Real GDP growth 2013 (West)

Table 1: Macroeconomic indicators

 2011201220132014
Real GDP growth2.7-1.55.45.1
Real GDP per capita growth0.6-2.64.34.1
CPI inflation35.32.93.3
Budget balance % GDP-3.3-6.4-5.8-4
Current account % GDP-10-0.8-6.8-9.9

Recent Developments & Prospects

Table 2: GDP by Sector (percentage of GDP)

 20072012
Agriculture, forestry & fishing--
Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing36.242.1
Construction5.55
Electricity, gas and water2.12.1
Electricity, water and sanitation--
Extractions--
Finance, insurance and social solidarity--
Finance, real estate and business services8.16.2
General government services--
Gross domestic product at basic prices / factor cost100100
Manufacturing7.67.1
Mining7.48.9
Other services00
Public Administration & Personal Services--
Public Administration, Education, Health & Social Work, Community, Social & Personal Services10.88.6
Public administration, education, health & social work, community, social & personal services--
Social services--
Transport, storage and communication6.25.9
Transportation, communication & information--
Wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants15.914.1
Wholesale, retail trade and real estate ownership--

Growth for the Malian economy is estimated at -1.5% in 2012, compared to 2.7% in 2011. This poor performance is due to the tertiary (-8.8%) and secondary (-2.2%) sectors. The primary sector, however, grew at a rate of 8.1%. The economy is expected to turn around in 2013, with real GDP growth of 5.4% on the back of an increase in rice, cotton and gold production. Stable gold and cotton prices are also a factor. This trend is expected to continue in 2014, with growth forecast at 5.1%. Nevertheless, political instability, the suspension of international aid in 2012, the continuing war in northern Mali and political tensions related to elections could all adversely affect growth in 2013 and 2014.

The primary sector was the sole generator of growth in 2012, thanks to rice (27%) and cotton (8%) production in the 2012/13 crop year. Growth in this sector should be around 5.4% in 2013 and 2014. It will remain dependent on rice and cotton despite the decreased cotton production forecast for 2013. The government will subsidise both of these crops, providing input materials and strengthening agricultural mechanisation.

The poor performance of the construction (-20.0%) and food-processing (-13.0%) industries is responsible for the -2.2% growth rate of the secondary sector. Despite this, the textile and extractive industries grew 35.0% and 7.5% respectively in 2012. Although gold production increased from 46 tonnes in 2011 to 49 tonnes in 2012, the reduced output of certain gold mines is responsible for the lower-than-expected growth of the extractive industries (initial forecast of 10.1%). Textiles, energy, food processing, construction and the extractive industry will all contribute to secondary sector growth, which is expected to average 5.5% in 2013‑14.

The tertiary sector experienced the largest slump, with -8.8% growth in 2012. The 22 March 2012 coup d’état and the nine-month occupation of the northern regions by Islamist groups caused the strong downturn. Non-financial services (-15%), trade (-10%) and financial services (-10%) were hit the hardest. The sector is predicted to grow on average 5.5% in 2013‑14, buoyed by trade, transport and telecommunications (a third mobile network operator, Alpha Télécommunication [Groupe Planor and Monaco Télécom International] is set to acquire a licence in 2013 for XOF 55 billion [CFA Franc BCEAO]).

Domestic demand slowed down in 2012. With regard to the public sector, which accounts for 35% of domestic demand, budget cuts led to a 12% reduction in public sector consumption. Infrastructure sponsored by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and hydraulic agricultural projects were either put on hold or slowed down, causing investments on the part of the public sector to decrease about 60% in 2012 year on year. As a result, government investment decreased from 8.7% of GDP in 2011 to 2.6% in 2012.

The political turmoil and insecurity also caused a contraction in tourism (hotels and travel agencies) and arts and crafts. The airline Air Mali laid off more than 200 employees, while 44 hotels went out of business, dismissing 208 employees and placing 739 others on temporary leave. This slowdown resulted in a 13% reduction in private sector investment in 2012, compared to a 7% increase in 2011. Household consumption contributed 1.5% to growth in 2012, against 5.0% initially forecast and 4.0% in 2011.

Consumption and Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) contributed ‑1.7% and ‑31.9% respectively to growth in 2012. The gross investment rate decreased from 20.2% in 2011 to 16.3% in 2012, compared to 20.0% initially forecast. Consumption and GFCF are expected to grow 6.0% and 12.4% respectively in 2013, driving overall demand higher. Public sector consumption and investment are slated to grow 8% and 30% respectively. Consequently, renewed public sector investment is expected to increase slightly by 3.2 percentage points in 2013 year on year, reaching roughly 19.5%.

Macroeconomic Policy

Fiscal Policy

The government executed its 2012 budget with fiscal discipline despite the difficult context, halting all expenditure following the coup d’état, aligning spending with the forecast revised revenue and adopting a collective budget in October 2012. In the context of this budget, revenue was reduced by 29.8%. Fiscal revenue was mobilised at a rate of 72.4% on 30 September 2012, signalling a significant effort in tax collection. Taxes on petroleum products were increased three times, adding XOF 7.8 billion in revenue. The butane gas subsidy was reduced, resulting in XOF 2.9 billion in savings. The tax burden remains low (13% of GDP), below the minimal standard of 17% set by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Spending was reduced 33.36% in 2012. Current expenditure (15.1% of GDP) decreased 6.9%, while capital expenditure, which represented 9.7% in the initial budget for 2012, dropped 73.8%. Externally-financed capital spending plummeted 91.0% from XOF 358.1 billion to XOF 32.1 billion due to a suspension of international aid.

When executing the 2012 budget, the government favoured priority spending: salaries, pensions, domestic and foreign debt servicing, security and national defence, the food crisis and the holding of elections. It also maintained planned spending on social services (33.45% of total spending). The government balanced the budget at the expense of investment, namely in infrastructure.

The 2012 Special Investment Budget (BSI) was cut 90%, with a 67% drop in internal financing and almost no external financing. The overall budget deficit increased to 5.8% of GDP in 2012 from 2.7% of GDP in 2011. The government issued treasury bonds to finance it. Mali received budget aid of only XOF 4.2 billion, 3.6% of the initial forecast for the 2012 budget. Not surprisingly, it only met two out of eight of the UEMOA’s criteria for economic convergence: basic fiscal balance in relation to GDP (excluding the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Initiative) and total outstanding public debt relative to GDP.

Fiscal policy will remain prudent in 2013 and based on internal resources. The deficit for 2013 is projected at XOF 55 billion (1% of GDP). The government plans to finance it through renewed donor budget support. The 2013 budget is oriented toward implementing the transition priorities: security and defence, humanitarian actions and the holding of elections. A revised budget was drawn up to eliminate the deficit and kick-start the economy in the wake of the revived donor co‑operation. The government plans to evaluate public spending and fiscal management of defence and security forces with the help of the World Bank. The goal is to enhance performance and reduce risks, given the potential hike in military spending as a result of the war in the north.

Table 3: Public Finances (percentage of GDP)

 200920102011201220132014
Total revenue and grants21.720.420.616.317.319.5
Tax revenue14.714.6141313.513.8
Oil revenue------
Grants4.63.140.71.23.1
Total expenditure and net lending (a)25.922.523.922.623.123.5
Current expenditure14.714.315.315.114.814.6
Excluding interest14.313.914.714.514.314
Wages and salaries555.1554.9
Interest0.40.40.60.60.50.5
Primary balance-3.9-1.7-2.7-5.8-5.2-3.5
Overall balance-4.2-2.1-3.3-6.4-5.8-4

Monetary Policy

As a member of the UEMOA, Mali shares the institutional arrangements of the franc zone: the common currency, the CFA franc, is pegged to the euro; the French treasury guarantees the currency; it is freely transferable within the zone; and foreign exchange reserves are centralised. While this provides a certain degree of monetary stability, it also imposes constraints on monetary policy, in particular when there are asymmetric shocks. The goal of the Central Bank of Western African States (BCEAO) is to ensure price stability in the medium term. On the whole, it manages to do so despite exogenous shocks.

Inflationary pressure was perceptible in 2012 despite prudent monetary policy at the regional level. The revised rate of inflation is expected to be 5.3%, against an initial forecast of 2.8% for 2012 and 3.0% in 2011. This high rate can be explained by provision problems and the decline in the supply of cereals, relatively low stocks of foodstuffs and the rise in the price of petroleum products. Mali exceeded the UEMOA’s standard of a maximum rate of 3% in 2012. Inflation is projected at 2.9% in 2013 thanks to the good 2012/13 crop year.

The money market rate decreased 3.3% in 2011, against 4.1% in 2010, but private companies still have difficulty obtaining long-term credit. 

The BCEAO in Mali closed for a few days following the 22 March 2012 coup d’état; it reopened on 28 March 2012. It continued doing business with banks and private financial institutions but took precautionary measures in the wake of the coup. It blocked all of the central bank’s operations with the treasury until the inauguration of the transitional president. However, because the government has numerous accounts in the commercial banks, the scope of these measures is limited.

Economic Cooperation, Regional Integration & Trade

Total exports (28.7% of GDP) were XOF 1.46 trillion (EUR 2.2 billion) in 2012, against XOF 1.12 trillion (EUR 1.7 billion) in 2011. This 30% rise was largely due to increased cotton (136.4%) and gold (27.3%) exports. This trend is set to continue in 2013 and 2014. Imports (22.4% of GDP) increased by 30% from XOF 1 31 trillion (EUR 1.9 billion) in 2011 to XOF 1.36 trillion (EUR 2.1 billion) in 2012, driven by a 44.3% increase in food imports. They are expected to increase 10.32% and 10.44% in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Mali reduced its current account deficit from 10.0% of GDP in 2011 to 0.8% of GDP in 2012. It achieved this by turning a XOF 188.8 billion trade deficit into a XOF 73.6 billion surplus, improving the balance of net transfers by 28.9%, and increasing the terms of trade by 14.8%. The combined balance of the capital and financial accounts, meanwhile, was hit by the suspension of international co‑operation, shrinking by 78% from XOF 551.9 billion (EUR 841.4 million) in 2011 to XOF 121.9 billion (EUR 185.8 million) in 2012.

Remittances – estimated at XOF 300 billion (EUR 457.3 million) a year – were hit by the crises in Libya and Europe (especially Spain), dropping by 5% according to the Malian migration information and management centre (CMIGM). (Measuring migrant flows is problematic in Mali, and BCEAO figures should be supplemented with statistics from source countries and additional research into informal flows.) The total balance of payments in 2012 had a XOF 130.6 billion (EUR 199 million) deficit, financed by tapping the BCEAO’s foreign exchange reserves. The current-account deficit is expected to deteriorate in 2013 (-6.8% of GDP). Mali will also have pressing balance of payment needs, which will require drawing XOF 83 billion (1.5% of GDP) from the BCEAO’s foreign currency reserves.

Mali participates in regional integration initiatives. It has signed and ratified practically all the agreements and protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UEMOA. ECOWAS and the UEMOA are negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Mali does not plan to reach a separate, bilateral agreement in the meantime. The Malian authorities support the regional position that supportive measures should be put in place before the agreement is signed, including financial aid to compensate for the effects of the EPA on trade. In the World Trade Organization (WTO) Mali supports the position of the C4 group (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali) on eliminating subsidies for cotton producers in developed countries. Mali benefits from the WTO’s Enhanced Integrated Framework programme, which helps Least Developed Countries overcome supply-side obstacles to trade.

Table 4: Current Account (percentage of GDP)

 2004200920102011201220132014
Trade balance-2.3-2.4-7.2-3.66.41.8-1.2
Exports of goods (f.o.b.)19.619.821.821.528.725.623.6
Imports of goods (f.o.b.)21.922.22925.122.423.824.9
Services-5.8-5.3-6.7-6-6.4-6.7-6.7
Factor income-3.9-5.1-4.4-4.6-5.3-5.5-5.4
Current transfers1.95.45.74.24.53.63.4
Current account balance-10.2-7.3-12.6-10-0.8-6.8-9.9

Debt Policy

According to the debt sustainability analysis carried out in 2012, Mali’s debt distress rating risk remained “moderate”. Outstanding public debt was estimated at XOF 1.45 trillion at end-2012. External debt was estimated at XOF 1.26 trillion (86.4% of public debt) and domestic debt at XOF 197.3 billion (13.6%), down 17.1% following repayments to the primary banking sector. Domestic debt was thus cut by 0.5% in 2012, but as a ratio of GDP it actually increased from 26.5% to 27.7% because of the recession. External debt, meanwhile, increased by 2.7% to 23.3%. Debt servicing as a percentage of exports of goods and services was cut from 4.0% in 2011 to 3.3% in 2012 thanks to a 16.0% reduction in external debt servicing, from XOF 58.0 billion in 2011 to XOF 48.7 billion in 2012.

The political and security crisis resulted in XOF 2.7 billion of net capital outflows from portfolio investments and XOF 59 billion of other capital outflows. Mali’s gross international reserves held by the BCEAO dropped by 18% to XOF 575.4 billion in 2012 (almost 5 months of imports) from XOF 701.4 billion in 2011 (6.2 months of imports).

Despite the crisis the government has continued to meet its financial commitments to its creditors, in particular its debt servicing. In the aftermath of the coup d’état, however, it did fall behind in its loan repayments, running up estimated external arrears of XOF 29 billion as of mid-November 2012. As part of the IMF’s RCF, the government pledged not to exceed this amount and to settle it in 2013. The government is expected to pursue a prudent fiscal policy in 2013 and 2014 and cover its financing needs through grants and loans – which will have a concessionality rate of at least 35% – to maintain the sustainability of its public debt.

Figure 2: Stock of total external debt and debt service 2013

Economic & Political Governance

Private Sector

Mali dropped six places in the World Bank report Doing Business 2012 from 145th to 151st out of 185 countries. All the indicators related to commercial and industrial legislation deteriorated, except for paying taxes, which improved one point. Due to high hiring and dismissal costs and the lack of flexibility in determining salaries, Mali is ranked 121st for its job market. Its difficulties seem to have more to do with high costs than the number of procedures and delays, which are reasonable.

The March 2012 political crisis had a negative impact on the perception of the country’s risk and its business environment. Its manufacturing base remains intact, but the Club des investisseurs français au Mali (Cifam) estimates that the looting that took place in the aftermath of the 22 March 2012 coup d’état will cost businesses XOF 500 million in damage and theft. The less favourable business climate led to the French credit insurance company Coface lowering Mali’s rating from C to D.

The government adopted a new investments code in 2012, but its implementation was postponed.

Financial Sector

Despite the political and security crisis, Mali’s banking system remains stable and liquid, with shares held by major companies such as Attijariwafa Bank, Banque marocaine du commerce extérieur du Maroc (BMCE), BNP Paribas, Libyan Arab Foreign Bank (LAFB) and Atlantic Financial Group (AFG). No less than 73% of credit institutions respected the prudential standard for liquidity ratios in 2012. Commitments of less than three months were therefore at least 75% covered by the same class of assets. 

Banking activity nevertheless dropped 10% in 2012. The quality of the banks’ portfolio deteriorated 20.6% in 2012, as opposed to 18.7% in 2011. Total bad debt increased by 11.15% to from XOF 242 billion to XOF 269 billion during the first nine months of 2012. The provisioning rate for bad debts is estimated at 67% for 2012, compared to 70.0% in 2011. The companies concerned are essentially in the construction, hotel and tourism industries. In addition, banks with offices in the north of the country had losses estimated at XOF 17.8 billion.  

The high cost of credit limits access to financial services. Banking transactions increased a mere 0.8% – as opposed to 17.7% from 2010 to 2011 – adding up to XOF 1.68 trillion by the end of September 2012. This small increase can be attributed to the significant financing the banks provided to the cotton industry for commercialisation (XOF 70 billion) and material inputs (XOF 60 billion), and to the oil and gas sector (XOF 300 billion) and mining (XOF 150 billion). On the other hand, the crisis-hit hotel, tourism and construction industries did not benefit from substantial financing in 2012.

The banking sector’s contribution to financing the economy remains weak, even though the ratio of credit to GDP increased from 18.2% in 2010 to 20.9% in 2011 and 21.5% in 2012. Ghana and Morocco, for example, have more enviable rates: 28.3% and 103.0% respectively.

Public Sector Management, Institutions & Reform

The strategic framework for growth and poverty reduction (Cadre stratégique pour la croissance et la réduction de la pauvreté, CSCRP), serves as the medium-term reference for Mali’s development policy. The government approved a new CSCRP for 2012‑17 in December 2011. It defines three strategic areas: promoting accelerated and sustainable growth that benefits the poor and creates jobs and revenue; reinforcing the long-term bases of development and equitable access to good-quality social services; and strengthening institutions and governance. To implement this, the government drew up a XOF 7.56 trillion priority action plan (PAP 2012‑17). Given the objectives and priorities of the transition authorities, a CSCRP emergency priority action plan (PAPU) for 2013-14 was slated to be approved in March 2013 for a total cost of XOF 1.42 trillion.

Important progress has been made in recent years in governance. The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG 2012) for Mali increased from 52.9 in 2010 to 55.0 in 2011. However, as a result of the suspension of international aid, there was no progress in 2012 with the measures recommended as part of the reform of the state. This reform includes the institutional development programme (PDI 2010‑13), the national programme for the support of regional authorities (PNACT 2010‑14) and the ten-year programme for the development of justice (Prodej 2010‑14).

Justice is a major concern for the transition authorities. They plan to continue with the human-rights and anti-corruption reforms (there have been major breaches of human rights nationwide).

In 2012, the government was only able to put in place one programme of activities as part of the governmental action plan to improve and modernise public finance management (Pagam/GFP). Progress that has been made over recent years has been weakened by the political crisis and the suspension of international aid. Pagam/GFP activities will resume in 2013, with the resumption of donor aid.

Structural reforms did not progress either in 2012. The institutional reform of the state firm Énergie du Mali (EDM) was delayed, and the government did not adopt the sectoral approach in agriculture. UEMOA’s rule 14 on overloading has not been applied in transport, resulting in premature deterioration of the road network, which is vital in opening up the country.

Natural Resource Management & Environment

The 2011 CSCRP review found that while the government takes the environment into account in all its sectoral strategies and policies for development, it needs to do more. The government signed and ratified the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It put in place national policies and programmes to implement them: the national policy for environmental protection, the national policy for the management of natural resources, the national programme to combat desertification, the strategic investment framework for the sustainable management of land, etc.

In terms of climate change, a national policy and strategy were developed in 2011, but the government was unable to implement them in 2012. At the beginning of 2012, the government prepared a strategic framework for green growth in Mali and the implementation of a Malian climate fund (FMC). That said, the environment is not a priority for the transition authorities.

Political Context

Mali underwent the gravest political crisis in its history in the aftermath of the 22 March 2012 putsch perpetrated by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo. Thanks to pressure from the international community and mediation from ECOWAS, rule of law was re‑established, with the inauguration of the president of the national assembly, Dioncounda Traoré, as interim president on 12 April 2012. A national unity government was subsequently formed, with Cheick Modibo Diarra as prime minister. However, political differences and pressure from the still-influential former military junta led to his resignation on 12 December 2012. Diango Cissoko was appointed prime minister the following day.

The French military intervention and the establishment of a state of emergency in mid-January 2013 calmed things down somewhat. The government and the national assembly adopted the road map for the transition at the end of January 2013. The document, which led to the renewal of international aid, aims to re‑establish the country’s territorial integrity and enable transparent and credible general elections before 31 July 2013. The former junta, which was adamantly opposed to foreign military intervention, allegedly approached ECOWAS to negotiate an honourable solution. It requested that Captain Sanogo remain president of the military committee charged with monitoring reform of the military for the duration of the transition, and ECOWAS granted its request.

The security situation in the south of the country seems stable. The liberation of the northern territories by the Malian army, with the support of French troops and the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), is ongoing. The major challenge remains to protect the liberated territories from possible attacks, ambushes and hostage takings. The absence of the Malian army in the Kidal region and the future role of the Tuareg rebellion by National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MLNA) remain important questions. Furthermore, national reconciliation, which was supposed to start with the military intervention, has not yet begun. Proof is the delay in putting in place the national commission for dialogue and reconciliation (CNDR). Suffice it to say, Mali’s significant security challenges threaten the stability of the sub-region and the Sahelian area as a whole.

Social Context & Human Development

Building Human Resources

Expenditure on education represented 20.0% of total planned spending for 2012. According to the figures provided by the CSCRP’s 2011 progress report, the main indicators for primary education have improved over the past fifteen years. The gross enrolment rate increased from 79.5% in 2010 to 81.5% in 2011 (87.8% for boys and 73.2% for girls); the gross admission rate remained stable at 74.7% in 2010, compared to 74.6% in 2011, and the completion rate for primary school increased from 56.3% in 2010 to 58.3% in 2012. There are still major regional and gender disparities, but Mali is on the path to achieving universal primary education by 2015 (MDG 2), and this despite the occupation of the north of the country, which has weakened educational outcomes.

The government continued to work to improve healthcare in 2012. Health spending represented 8% of total planned expenditure in 2012. This is below the goal of 15% adopted in the Abuja Declaration, which was signed by African heads of state on 27 April 2001. Modest progress was made with the main health indicators between the 2001 and 2006 demographic and health surveys (EDS). Consequently, there is little chance that Mali will attain by 2015 MDGs 4 and 5 of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters. 

National priority programmes have helped combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS has been reduced from 1.7% to 1.3% in the past few years, and Mali is among the leading African countries for access to antiretroviral treatment, with 31 000 beneficiaries. For tuberculosis, the detection rate increased from 18% in 2004 to 29% in 2009. However, only 23% of malaria cases in children under five are treated within 24 hours.

If these efforts are kept up, they will stand Mali in good stead to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and control malaria and other major diseases (MDG 6). Nevertheless, the nine-month occupation of the north by armed groups reduced access to health services and worsened the quality of care, especially for mothers and children.

Poverty Reduction, Social Protection & Labour

Mali carried out a general census in 2009, then a survey of households (Elim) and a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) in 2010. The results allowed the government to identify the poor, vulnerable groups and those who do not have access to basic social services. As part of the CSCRP 2012‑17, it is targeting poor and vulnerable citizens and has set a goal of reducing the poverty rate to 32% by 2017, down from 42.7% in 2012.

Authorities have been working since 2009 to set up mandatory health insurance (Amo) and a medical assistance plan (Ram), plus the structures to administer them, namely a national health insurance fund (Canam) and a national medical assistance agency (Anam). Though the authorities consider this social protection policy to be a major advance, there has been strong opposition from certain trade unions, who demanded and obtained the reimbursement of health insurance contributions that had been deducted from their salaries.

The main challenges facing the social protection system in Mali are as follows: the limited coverage by existing measures (roughly 23% of the population), the lack of resources to finance non-contributory measures, the low sustainability of employee protection plans due to the ever-increasing gap between revenues from policyholder contributions and the cost of the services provided, and the lack of use of other social protection measures, especially mutual health insurance (3.3% of the population). The government plans to meet these challenges by implementing the 2011‑15 national action plan for social protection.

The unemployment rate is 9.6% overall and 15.4% among young people (81.5% of the jobless).

Gender Equality

Mali has ratified the main international and regional measures regarding women’s rights. The government adopted a national gender policy (PNG-Mali) on 24 November 2010 to implement them. Despite the crisis it continued to promote equality between men and women in all areas in 2012.

Gender-sensitive budgeting (PBSG) was adopted for the first time in 2012, allowing the government to analyse the budget’s impact on women, men, boys and girls, as well as on gender equality. Nevertheless, more women are still needed in decision-making positions. Diango Cissoko’s government has three women out of 30 ministers. The national assembly has 15 women out of 147 members, a mere 10%. The percentage of women among central administration directors is also 10%, while 14% of members of the Malian Chamber of Commerce (CCIM) are female.

The situation of women in the north deteriorated substantially under the occupation of armed Islamist groups. They were illegally confined, raped, forced into marriages and forbidden from wearing certain clothes and participating in public festivities and mixed gatherings.

Thematic analysis: Structural transformation and natural resources

Natural resources play a crucial role in the Malian economy, in particular gold and cotton. Mali has become Africa’s third largest gold producer, after South Africa and Ghana. Production increased from 6 tonnes in 1993 to 49.7 tonnes in 2012. As previously stated, it represents a quarter of GDP and three-quarters of export earnings. Exports increased from XOF 17.4 billion in 1993 to XOF 1.07 trillion in 2012. It is estimated that the state earned XOF 233 billion through direct and indirect taxes and dividends in 2012, compared to 62.3 billion in 2002. The government is planning a new tax, indexed on changes in global gold prices. The mining sector employs 8 000 people, including research companies and subcontractors, but the value added by local beneficiation and the development of sales outlets are still lacking. There are no national operators and service providers at the different levels of the mining industry (exploitation, subcontracting, providers of services and material inputs, use and enhancement of local products). Generally speaking, the mining sector does not have enough links to the local economy. Moreover, as a result of a lack of geological data on other mineral deposits, it only produces gold. The absence of a reliable mining land survey and an independent and appropriate financing mechanism penalise the sector. There is also insufficient control, monitoring and evaluation of mining companies. Lastly, energy and communications infrastructure in mining areas are underdeveloped.

The government adopted a new mining code on 27 February 2012 to address these shortcomings and better integrate the mining sector into the national economy. Some of the measures it provides for are: the possibility for private Malian firms to acquire a 5% stake in mining companies; revising the amount and/or rate of taxes and rights related to mining activities; taking into consideration the development of communities near mines; implementing a model to finance research, training and capacity-building for the industry’s workers; and preserving and restoring the environment through social and environmental impact studies (EIES). In addition, as a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2 August 2006, the country produces a yearly report on its mining activities.

The rural town of Sadiola is a good example of local development supported by mining activities. Two mining companies have operated the mines since 1996 in this town of 23 000, located 75km from Kayes in north-western Mali. They pay the town between XOF 400 and 600 million annually in levies, making Sadiola the richest rural community in Mali. The money has allowed it to invest in education, healthcare, agriculture and livestock farming. Before the mine opened the town had six schools; with the funds from the mining companies, it has built 27, and 23 of these benefit from supplies and equipment each year. It also built five new secondary health centres to complement the sole clinic that existed before the mine. Drinking water is free of charge thanks to the creation of two water supply points; the town has electricity and village associations are working towards reforestation. A local job commission has been set up to ensure 30% of all jobs are filled by local residents. Finally, the mining companies have also financed a XOF 600 million integrated development programme for Sadiola (Padi) to improve agriculture, livestock farming and microfinancing.

Mali’s other major resource, cotton, accounted for around 1% of GDP and 15% of total export earnings in 2012. It was the country’s main export up until 2000. A drop in crop yields and global cotton prices, subsidies to producers in certain developed countries, lower production because of the refusal of farmers to cultivate the cotton and bad governance have all created serious difficulties for the industry since 1997/98. This has led to the liberalisation of the sector and a plan to privatise the CMDT. However, since the 2008/09 crop year, production has increased on average 23% per year. This gain is due to the state subsidising input materials by XOF 20 billion on average per year, providing support and advice to producers and guaranteeing prices. It also results from a refocusing of the CMDT’s activities on cotton and improving the sector’s governance, plus the relatively high global cotton prices. As a result, the government no longer seems interested in privatising the CMDT. 

The availability of good-quality cotton should be a potential advantage for Mali. However, it has not led to the creation of a local cotton processing industry. The few companies that make use of cotton grains, such as oil mills (Huicoma) and the textile industry (Comatex, Fitina, Batexci), are struggling. Automation in most cotton-producing countries has eroded the comparative advantages of low-wage countries like Mali. This is why the government needs to foster investment in the textile industry, which represents a mere 2% of GDP. An increase in the local processing of cotton, which is part of an industrialisation strategy for Mali, will help protect the sector from global price fluctuations.

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