flag Mali Mali: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Over the past few years, Mali has faced significant upheavals, including two coups d'état, the COVID-19 pandemic, acute security threats, and a cost-of-living crisis stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A stringent embargo imposed by regional partners in the first half of 2022 limited international economic transactions for both the government and private sector. Despite the embargo, GDP growth was estimated at 3.7% in 2022, with a further acceleration to 4.5% in 2023, supported by a strong recovery in the agricultural sector and high gold export revenues. According to the IMF, the economy is expected to experience sustained growth over the forecast horizon, at 4.8% this year and 5.3% in 2025.

In 2022, the government's fiscal deficit, standing at just under 5% of GDP, highlights a swift rise in security expenditures, public wages, and interest payments. These factors have led to a crowding-out effect on growth-friendly spending, particularly on social safety nets and capital investments. Mali is experiencing tightening financing conditions, primarily due to the absence of external budget support, which ceased following the two coups d'état in 2020 and 2021. It is unlikely to resume until after elections are held in 2024. Additionally, higher global interest rates further exacerbate the situation. The public deficit decreased slightly in 2023 due to the implementation of the new mining code, which was promulgated in August 2023. This boosted revenues by increasing the maximum participation of the State and local investors in mining projects from 20% to 35%, while eliminating tax exemptions previously granted to companies during exploitation. However, fiscal consolidation, relying on administrative reforms and rationalization of spending, remained limited as the junta had to increase military and security spending following the withdrawal of Western forces. Additionally, spending continued to be constrained by public workers' salaries, which accounted for 55% of tax revenues, and by the implementation of the National Strategy for the Stabilization of Central Regions and its three-year action plan (2022-2024), with a total budget of XOF 956 billion. The public debt-to-GDP ratio was stable at around 51.8% of GDP in 2023 and should continue its upward trajectory (IMF). The inflation rate was estimated at 5% in 2023 and is seen decelerating to 2.8% this year and 2% in 2025 also due to a stronger agricultural output (IMF).

Mali is classified as a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) and, as such, it benefited from debt cancellation under the IMF's HIPC Initiative. With an average income per capita of USD 2.20 per day, it ranks among the 20 poorest countries globally. It also faces one of the highest population growth rates, alongside elevated levels of illiteracy and unemployment, particularly among the youth. Notably, the informal sector significantly contributes to the national economy. According to the World Bank's figures, 19.1% of Malians were living in extreme poverty in 2022, 3.2% more than one year earlier due to the erosion of the purchasing power of the most vulnerable, owing to soaring consumer prices and weak economic growth. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas (90% of all poor) and in the south of the country. According to ILO estimates, almost three-quarters of the economically active population work in the informal economy; whereas the unemployment rate in 2023 stood at around 3.3% of the total workforce (World Bank, latest data available). The same source estimated the country’s GDP per capita (PPP) at USD 2,519 in 2022.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 18.7220.6821.6622.9824.57
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 828886899924957
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 52.953.055.155.755.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -1.51-1.86-1.11-1.00-0.83
Current Account (in % of GDP) -8.0-9.0-5.1-4.4-3.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 800.68749.15741.42732.38737.93

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 67.7 10.0 22.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 36.4 20.0 35.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.1 3.8 3.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 6,949,2257,179,7227,384,320

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 71.58%71.47%71.33%
Men activity rate 83.33%83.09%82.77%
Women activity rate 60.02%60.03%60.04%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica, Mali News
Africa News - Mali
BBC Country Profiles - Mali
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water
Ministry of Rural Development
Central Bank of the West African States

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Latest Update: May 2024