Mali gained its independence from France in 1960, and French is still its official language. Mali is among the poorest countries in the world with its economy dependent on gold mining and agriculture.
About 80 per cent of the labour force is agrarian, but agricultural revenues are volatile. Mali therefore remains dependent on foreign aid. Mali is developing its iron ore industry to diversify its exports away from gold. Insecurity, weak infrastructure, and an under-skilled workforce remain the main barriers to attracting foreign investment and achieving economic growth.
In northern Mali, Tuareg ethnic militias rebelled in January 2012 and two months later an army coup overthrew President Touré. The rebels expelled the Malian military from the three northern regions. This enabled Islamic militants to establish strongholds in the country’s north.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established in 2013. In the same year, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta won Mali's presidential election, and was re-elected for a second five-year term in 2018. After some progress in 2013, the security situation in Mali deteriorated. In June 2015, the Government of Mali and the northern armed groups signed a peace agreement (Algiers Accord), but significant terrorist and other security threats remained.
On 18 August 2020, President Keïta was forced to resign following a military coup. Mali’s transitional government was removed by military leaders in another coup on 24 May 2021. Colonel Assimi Goïta assumed the position of interim President on 28 May 2021.
Mali is a member of La Francophonie, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Mali is from the High Commission in Accra, Ghana.
Economic and trade information
- Mali economic fact sheet [PDF]
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