Country Reports

Mali Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Mounting anti-government protests and low army morale as jihadists continue mass-casualty attacks against military bases increase the risk of a military overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Public hostility towards foreign forces over their inability to reduce terrorism risks poses looting and damage risks particularly to UN and French assets during protests. A government offer to talk to Malian jihadist leaders is unlikely to halt attacks, with jihadist groups seeking to further destabilise Mali by provoking traditional inter-communal conflicts, in which hundreds of civilians have already died, particularly around Mopti and Ménaka. The border area with Burkina Faso and Niger will remain a particular hotspot for jihadist attacks.France will continue pushing for greater European counter-terrorism co-operation in 2020, alongside efforts to boost the G5-Sahel regional force. The return in February 2020 of Malian troops to the northern town of Kidal, held by ex-separatists, increases the risk of fighting between the two sides and of intensified jihadist attacks in the area. Legislative elections, twice postponed in 2018 and again in June 2019, are now due on 29 March and 19 April 2020. Economic growth is expected to average 4.5% during 2020–21 and then gradually decline to 4.0% in the 3–5-year outlook. Mali's growth prospects remain largely driven by domestic demand, especially public fixed capital formation. Escalating security issues remain an important downside risk for Mali's economic growth, potentially undermining the currently favourable projections. Mali relies substantially on foreign grants and official lending to cover its annual balance-of-payments needs and fiscal imbalances, as well as to fund priority social and economic programmes. This reliance on external donors heightens the risks to its future growth trajectory.
Last update: March 5, 2020

Operational Outlook

Mali embraces an economic liberalisation strategy and its government wants to attract and retain foreign investment. However, due to increasing jihadist and inter-communal violence, Mali's operational environment remains unstable and liable to change at short notice. Further challenges include regular labour strikes, public protests, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure as road and rail networks are underdeveloped. Mali is landlocked and depends for imports and exports on seaports in neighbouring countries, including Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and Togo.

Last update: February 22, 2020



Recent mass-casualty attacks claimed by Islamic State affiliates on the tri-border of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger indicate that co-operation with Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups is waning. However, terrorism risks in the Sahel are unlikely to diminish as a result, with attacks continuing to spread south across Mali's borders towards coastal West Africa. Jihadists' strategy of fomenting traditional inter-communal rivalries will further destabilise Mali and the Sahel region. Despite increased international support, the regional G-5 Sahel counter-terrorism force will likely remain stalled by logistical, co-ordination, and financial constraints.

Last update: February 22, 2020


There is a high level of crime and insecurity in northern and central regions, given the large presence of criminal and terrorist groups that operate in the desert border regions with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Niger trafficking in contraband. Criminals, militants, and Malian security forces have been known to set up roadblocks to extort from travellers. The Malian police force lacks adequate resources for effective policing.

Last update: February 22, 2020

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low due to Mali's close counter-terrorism co-operation with its neighbours. However, jihadist and inter-communal violence in northern and central Mali poses very high civil war risks. The return of Malian troops in February 2020 to the ex-separatist-held town of Kidal is a positive sign, but the fragility of the northern peace accord means the slightest disagreements will likely trigger fighting between the two sides. The Islamist militant conflict has spread across Mali's borders and is likely to remain intractable in the one-year outlook.

Last update: February 22, 2020

Social Stability

Very high

Mass protests against the perceived inability of foreign troops to eradicate terrorism, particularly France's counter-terrorism Operation Barkhane, are likely to take place in the capital Bamako as well as in Segou, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal. Austerity measures and the high cost of living are also likely to trigger anti-government protests in Bamako, which will probably be violently dispersed by police. Intercommunal fighting poses stability risks in central and northern Mali.

Last update: February 22, 2020

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over the age of one year entering the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine and proguanil (sometimes marketed as Paludrine ) or proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Bamako's rainy season lasts from June to October and can lead to large-scale flash flooding and landslides. In July and August 2016, torrential rains hit the country, killing 14 people. Due to the lack of water drainage infrastructures, roads are often impassable and the supply of basic services disrupted.

Last update: April 5, 2019


Very high

Transportation conditions are particularly dangerous in Mali. With the exception of main roads, most roads are unpaved, posing a significant risk especially during the rainy season (June to October).

The lack of public lighting, dangerous driving habits, and old vehicles also increase the danger of driving. For any road travel, be sure to pack water, food, and fuel reserves. Only drive by daylight and take a vehicle with four-wheel drive. Travelers should also bring a GPS and a satellite phone. Make sure that the vehicle contains mechanical spare parts (wheels, cables, etc.). Accidents may easily escalate into a violent riot in the event of fatalities. In case of an accident, travelers should remain in their vehicle and proceed immediately to the nearest police station. On roads in northern and central Mali there is also the risk of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs); driving should be avoided.

Long-distance road travel can be extremely dangerous. Bandits are active on the roads, always armed, and potentially violent. Carjackings are frequent throughout the country. It is advised to drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.

Finally, be advised that the rail lines connecting Bamako to Dakar are unsafe.

Last update: April 5, 2019


In addition to the general lack of in access to electricity throughout the territory (25.6 percent of the population has access), power cuts are common in Mali, particularly in Bamako.

Interruptions to the current water supply are regular, including in the capital. This is particularly due to a drought affecting the country but also to power outages that disrupt the operation of water pumping stations, as well as dilapidated water infrastructures. In the northern part of the country, the access rate to water is below the national average, mainly due to the insecurity prevailing in the region.

Individuals using internet in the country occasionally lose access to social networks, which are sometimes cut by the authorities.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Generally speaking, Mali's rainy season lasts from July until September, but is shorter in the Sahel region (in the north of the country). The further south you travel, the more common and abundant rains become. Temperatures can reach 30°C during the months of July, August, December, and January, even reaching 40°C - 50°C in certain regions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +223
Police in Bamako: 20 22 52 27 or 20 22 52 28 or 20 22 44 05


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019