Mali Profile


Mali Profile

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The territory known as Mali can be traced back to the fourth century of the Common Era when south west Mali was part of the Empire Of Ghana. By the thirteenth century the Ghana empire was in rapid decline and the Mali Empire was born from an area within the Ghana Empire known as Manden which had been ruled in Ghana's name. This came about as the Sosso people under their King Soumaoro Kante, who had leapt to fill the void of the collapsed Ghana Empire, conquered the Mandinka kingdoms of what is now Mali. The Mali warlords then formed a pact and turned to one Sundiata Keita, born 1217CE, to liberate the Mandinkas and their homeland. Over the ensuing centuries various groups ruled over the area which changed in shape and size until Mali came under French colonial rule in 1892 as part of the Scramble for Africa.



The area, then known as French Sudan, became the autonomous state of the Sudanese Republic in 1958 and gained full independence from France in 1960, forming, together with Senegal, the Federation of Mali. However months later Senegal withdrew from the federation and the Sudanese Republic was renamed the Republic of Mali then to be ruled as a dictatorship until 1991 when free and fair elections were established. It subsequently gained a reputation as being one of the most secure democracies in Africa until the coup of March 2012 that reflected rising ethnic tensions and an influx of fighters - some linked to Al-Qa'ida - from Libya. Since then the country has achieved periods of stability but ensured more periods of conflict with a further coup occuring in May 2021, when Colonel Assimi Goita arrested the interim president.


Today Mali is one of the poorest countries on Earth, not least because nearly two thirds of it is covered by desert with few opportunities to grind out a subsistence farming living and is in 184th place out of 189 countries and territories in 2019 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country. The population of the country has a staggering 48.3% aged 14 or younger, with 58.923 deaths per 1000 live births. 4000 children in Mali are forced to live on the streets, begging to survive, and easy targets for exploitation, including child trafficking.


Mali Map


With a population of 20.25 million (2020), life expectancy in Mali is 59.31 years (2019) with some 75,000 children orphaned through AIDS alone out of a total orphan population of 710,000 out of a total child population of 6,507,000. Just 56% of children have access to safe water and 74% of the population are illiterate with one third suffering from chronic malnourishment. Given the high proportion of young children in Mali demography, it is hardly surprising that children in Mali start working at an early age, if not labouring, then looking after their younger siblings. As such, encouraging children, particularly girls, to attend and stay in education is often very difficult. For more about Mali check out the profile articles below.




Mali Profile: Volunteer in Mali

African Volunteer Work: Mali


Check out all the latest fee paying and free African volunteer work placements and charity work job opportunities abroad with local projects and volunteering organisations in Mali.

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Mali Profile Ancient Mali

Ancient Mali


A profile of the history of the ancient Empire of Mali, reaching the height of its power by the 14th century complete with video.

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Mali Profile: Mali Images

Mali Images


Explore images of Mali, perhaps best known for the Niger River, the city of Timbuktu and, of course, the Dogon Tribe who according to legend, had contact with a fish like race from Sirius called the Nommo. As you do.

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Mali Profile: Life in Mali

Life in Mali


Exploring life in Mali, where life expectancy is short and ill health, disease and famine are rampant together with a video showing the challenges of daily life in the country.

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Mali Profile: Mali Children

Mali Children


Find out more about children's lives in Mali in pictures and video together with facts and figures.

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Mali Profile: Street Children in Mali

Mali Street Children


More children are turning to the streets in a fragmented and complex Mali in West Africa.

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Mali Profile: Bamako Profile

Bamako Profile


A complete profile of Bamako, capital city of Mali, including Bamako information, facts, pictures and tourist attractions.

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Mali Profile: Mali Airport

Mali Airport


Modibo Keita International Airport in Mali, formerly known as Bamako-Senou International Airport, opened in 1974 and services over 686,431 passengers a passengers a year and is probably your entry to Mali if undertaking volunteer work in the country.

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Mali Profile: Mali Quiz

Mali Quiz


Take our Mali country quiz and find out how much you really know about Mali including some interesting facts about the country.

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Mali Profile: Child Sponsor Mali

Child Sponsor Mali


Details of how to sponsor children in Mali with Mali child sponsor organisations, charities, programs and projects.

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Mali Profile: Mali Map

Mali Map


Use this Google Earth satellite map of Mali in Africa to explore and take a virtual tour of Mali and zoom in on places of interest.

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Mali Profile: Mali News

Mali News


Read all the latest and breaking news from Mali here at our Malian news profile page. Updated daily.

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