Bamako Profile

Bamako Profile

Bamako is situated on the Niger River and gets its name from the word 'Bambara' meaning 'crocodile river'. It is believed that the area that now hosts the city of Bamako has been inhabited for some 150,000 years with the Niger valley and its river providing plenty of food and clean water. Following Mali's colonisation by France in the nineteenth century, Bamako became the capital of what was then the French Sudan in 1908 and its growth was aided when the then Dakar-Niger Railway was opened. In 1960 Mali was granted independence from France and fell to Soviet influence and investment however many of the large state enterprises later collapsed, leaving both Mali and Bamako with declining economies. As its population grew, Bamako spread from the north bank of the River Niger to the south of the river with a number of connecting bridges. Its spiralling growth from just 2500 in 1884 to 2,713,230 in 2021, in part due to an influx of refugees from the country's north and neighbouring Cote d'Ivorie, has caused a multitude of problems, not least the provision of adequate water supplies, housing and other infrastructure. This is turn has degraded employment opportunitues, created school overcrowding and the rapid growth of infectious diseases.

Today Bamako, which gets most of its power from the hydroelectric Selingue Dam, serves as Mali's administrative centre with most departments of state being found close to the King Fadh Bridge however the city also represents around 70% of industrial activity in the country from where cement and petroleum products are shipped downstream from Bamako via the Niger River than winds its way to Kouroussa in the Gulf of Guinea. The Bozo, a Mande ethnic group in Mali, are active fishermen around the city's river banks, as are farmers and it's not uncommon to see cattle meandering around the streets. Although traditionally Saudi Arabia has been a significant investor in Bamako, today China has usurped that role in developing its infrastructure and facilities.

Bamako City Profile

If visiting Bamako take time for a visit to the Zoo National du Mali. Located on a hilltop outside the city, the zoo features a small forest from where you can observe chimps, buffalos, ostriches, and deer. The zoo also has an artificial river and other areas including a reptile house, aviary, and aquarium although addional fees apply to access these. The Musee National du Mali (National Museum of Mali) is also well worth a visit and has a number of permanent and temporary exhbits exploring the history of Mali in addition to the musical instruments, dress, and ritual objects that reflect Malian culture. Of particular interest are the models in the grounds of the museum of a number of the country's landmarks including the mosques of Djenne and Timbuktu. Next to the museum and the Presidential Palace, you'll find the National Park of Mali that lies beneath the terraced outcrops of the Koulouba plateau and was opened to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. The park is a 103 hectare area within a larger protected forest reserve of 2,100 hectares, which forms a significant greenbelt in the mainly arid country. The park is home to various indigenous flora and has flower gardens, wooded areas and a medicinal garden.

Bamako 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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Bamako Profile: Bamako City Map

Bamako City Map

A satellite map of Bamako, capital city of Mali, which you can use to zoom in to explore each street of the city and its major tourist attractions

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Bamako 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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Bamako 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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Bamako Profile: Mali Country Profile

African Country Profiles: Mali

In another of our African country profiles, find out all about Mali in a series of information articles, latest daily news, videos, and images together with volunteering and child sponsorship opportunities.

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