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Mali Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Despite recent successes by France’s Barkhane counter-terrorism operation, international forces are unlikely to reduce terrorism risks during 2019. Probable withdrawal during 2019 of US funding for UN peacekeeping operations will restrict the capacity of the UN mission, MINUSMA. Furthermore, logistical and funding problems will prevent the regional G5-Sahel counter-terrorism force from conducting operations effectively against jihadists in at least the six-month outlook. Jihadist groups are likely to seek to destabilise the country further by provoking traditional inter-communal conflicts, in which hundreds of civilians have already died, particularly around Mopti and Ménaka. The deteriorating security situation in north and central Mali will continue to thwart the northern peace process. President Keïta, who was re-elected in August 2018, is likely to continue prioritising security over efforts to improve living standards within Mali. As a result, his administration faces the risk of increasingly frequent strikes and anti-government demonstrations. Legislative elections, twice postponed in 2018, are now due in June 2019, which will heighten the risk of protests. Economic growth is expected to remain relatively robust and average 4.5% during 2019–21 and then gradually decline toward 4.0% in the 3–5-year outlook. Mali’s growth prospects remain largely driven by robust domestic demand, especially public fixed capital formation. 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 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Mali embraces an economic liberalisation strategy and its government is so far well-disposed towards foreign investment. However, due to continuing insecurity, 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: January 9, 2019

Terrorism

Severe

Terrorism risks continue to rise, despite French counter-terrorism successes, notably the reported killing of FLM jihadist leader Amadou Koufa in November 2018. Co-operation between Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups and Islamic State affiliates has increased their capacity in northern and central Mali, and their ability to stage attacks across borders, particularly in Burkina Faso and Niger. A regional destabilisation strategy created by fomenting traditional Sahelian inter-communal rivalries will likely be pursued in 2019. The regional G-5 counter-terrorism force is unlikely to be operational due to ongoing logistical, co-ordination, and financial constraints.

Last update: January 9, 2019

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low due to Mali's close counter-terrorism co-operation with its neighbours, but continuing insurgencies and growing inter-communal violence in central and northern Mali pose very high civil war risks. The March 2017 creation of a front between four Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups, which want to scupper the 2015 northern peace deal, and their subsequent co-operation with Islamic State affiliates deepen the conflict, which has spread across Mali's borders and will likely remain intractable in the one-year outlook.

Last update: January 9, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

President Keïta will likely continue prioritising security over improving living standards, increasing the risk of strikes and anti-government demonstrations. Thousands took part in protests in November and December 2018 which were violently dispersed by police using tear gas. Legislative elections, twice postponed in 2018, are now due in June 2019, further heightening protest risk. Intercommunal fighting poses stability risks in north and central Mali due to the faltering peace agreement between the government and armed groups, and expanding operations by Islamist militant groups. Sporadic violent civilian protests are likely in Bamako, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu against UN and French forces.

Last update: January 9, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

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

Transportation

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

Infrastructure

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

Climate

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

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019