Recent Developments & Prospects

Macroeconomic Policy

Fiscal Policy

Monetary Policy

Economic Cooperation, Regional Integration & Trade

Debt Policy

Economic & Political Governance

Private Sector

Financial Sector

Public Sector Management, Institutions & Reform

Natural Resource Management & Environment

Political Context

Social Context & Human Development

Building Human Resources

Poverty Reduction, Social Protection & Labour

Gender Equality

Thematic analysis: Structural transformation and natural resources

Authors: Abdoulaye Konaté, Bécaye Diarra

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  • The economy returned to growth (5%) in 2013 after the economic recession triggered by the complicated political crisis of 2012. This should continue in 2014 and 2015 driven by good secondary and tertiary sector performance and favourable weather.
  • The government maintained budget discipline in 2012 despite the recession and suspension of foreign aid. Co-operation with the country’s technical and financial partners resumed in 2013.
  • Government worked with the international community to ease the humanitarian crisis but could not prevent the poverty rate rising to 42.7% in 2012 from 41.7% in 2011.

The macroeconomic situation markedly improved in 2013 after the food shortages and political and security crises of 2012 (including a military coup on 22 March 2012 and the start of a nine month rebel occupation in early April of the northern two-thirds of the country) that triggered a war in January 2013.

The 2012 recession was due to a 2.2% fall in the secondary sector and an 8.8% slump in the tertiary, while the primary sector expanded by 8.1%. Real gross domestic product (GDP), having shrunk by 1.2% in 2012, grew about 5% in 2013 driven by the tertiary sector (+6.7%), and while growth slowed in the primary sector (to 5.8%) it returned in the secondary (+0.6%).

Medium-term macroeconomic prospects are good. The overall recovery should continue in 2014 (6.7%) and 2015 (5.6%) boosted by agriculture, gold-mining and a tertiary sector recovery. But these prospects are at risk from the volatile prices of the country’s two main exports, gold and cotton, and the delicate security situation.

The political instability and occupation of the north quickly led to deterioration of an already fragile social situation. The UN Development Programme’s 2013 Human Development Index ranks Mali only 182nd out of 187 countries, with a score of 0.36. The slight drop in the poverty rate did not reduce the number of people affected, which grew from 5.7 million to 6.4 million between 2001 and 2010. The high fertility rate (6.7 children per woman) hampers poverty reduction and results in large dependency ratios, worsens maternal mortality and entrenches gender inequality in various sectors. It also puts great pressure on the government’s ability to provide basic services for all, such as education, healthcare, social protection and security.

Mali was on target to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for universal primary education, controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS and access to safe drinking water. But progress made in recent years has been damaged by the occupation of the north and these MDGs may not now be achieved.

The humanitarian situation in the north is still very unstable, with more than 1 390 000 people needing urgent food aid, 496 000 children under five in danger of acute malnutrition and refugees and displaced people returning to their home regions in difficult conditions.

Table 1: Macroeconomic indicators

Real GDP growth-
Real GDP per capita growth-
CPI inflation5.
Budget balance % GDP-
Current account balance % GDP-3-9.8-14.3-17

Source: Data from domestic authorities; estimates (e) and projections (p) based on authors’ calculations.