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Mali Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Keïta is under pressure to resign after tens of thousands of opposition protesters, led by Imam Mahmoud Dicko in a new movement known as M5-RFP, took to the streets on two occasions in June 2020. The demonstrations follow long-overdue legislative elections that went ahead in March and April despite fears over the COVID-19 outbreak and jihadist violence, but were deemed fraudulent by the opposition after the constitutional court overturned 30 results in favour of the ruling party. Keïta’s resistance to opposition demands for new elections and an executive prime minister appointed by the movement will likely trigger mass protests countrywide, increasing government instability and civil war risks. The main opposition leader, Soumaila Cissé, kidnapped by presumed jihadists in March, remains in captivity. Escalating rivalry between jihadist groups has created a complex security situation, with kidnap, death and injury risks likely to rise as each side vies for superiority in northern and central Mali. France will likely continue pushing for greater European counter-terrorism co-operation within Operation Takuba due to become operational later this year, alongside efforts to boost the G5-Sahel regional force, particularly in the tri-border Liptako-Gourma area with Niger and Burkina Faso. Economic growth is expected to average 4.5% during 2020–21 and then gradually decline to 4.0% in the three–five-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: July 8, 2020

Operational Outlook

The Malian government embraces an economic liberalisation strategy, but the operational environment remains unstable and liable to change at short notice due to ongoing jihadist and inter-communal violence. Further challenges include strikes, demonstrations, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure as road networks are underdeveloped, which can provoke protest blockades by truck drivers. In May 2020, teachers held stoppages over non-payment of salaries, and other professions will likely follow suit as austerity measures are likely to deepen due to the economic fallout from COVID-19 restrictions. Mali is landlocked and depends for imports and exports on seaports in neighbouring countries.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Severe

Fighting between Islamic State and Al-Qaeda affiliates on the tri-border of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger indicates an end to co-ordination between the two groups. Jihadists are likely to take advantage of government distraction with the COVID-19 outbreak to increase attacks against military targets or attempted abductions of foreigners and key political figures. Jihadists' strategy of exploiting traditional inter-communal rivalries will further destabilise the region. The European 'Takuba' counter-terrorism force, due for deployment in mid-2020, is unlikely to have the numbers to boost operations significantly, while the regional G-5 Sahel force will likely remain stalled by logistical, co-ordination, and financial constraints.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

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, Burkina Faso, 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: June 17, 2020

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low due to Mali's close counter-terrorism co-operation with its neighbours. However, discontent with the government over COVID-19 curfews, austerity measures, insecurity, and results of the March–April 2020 legislative elections, in which the ruling party increased its lead, pose a high risk of civil unrest. Jihadist groups are likely to exploit inter-communal violence in northern and central Mali to foment ethnically motivated unrest. 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.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

Very high

Protests against curfews imposed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, austerity measures and insecurity are likely in the capital, Bamako, and major cities including Segou, Mopti, Gao, and Timbuktu. Security forces are likely to use live ammunition to disperse demonstrations that turn violent. The final results of March–April 2020 legislative elections, in which the ruling party increased its seats, have provoked opposition demonstrations in many cities, including Kayes and Sikasso in the south, which will likely continue in the three-month outlook, driven also by the continued captivity of main opposition leader Soumaila Cisse, abducted by jihadists in March 2020.

Last update: June 17, 2020

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