flag Mali Mali: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Despite major security concerns, Mali’s economy has enjoyed steady growth rates during these last years, supported by strong agricultural production (especially for cotton) and high gold prices. However, the country’s GDP contracted by -1.6% in 2020 as a consequence of the global economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic activity rebounded by an estimated 4% in 2021 and is expected to further accelerate to 5.3% in 2022 and 5% in 2023 (IMF), boosted by strong agricultural and mining sectors.

Mali’s public finances deteriorated due to the pandemic-induced economic slowdown and increased spending, and did not improve in 2021 despite the economic recovery. The debt-to-GDP ratio continued to increase, from an estimated 47.4% in 2020 to 51% in 2021, and is forecast to only slightly decrease to 50.6% in 2022 and 50.1% in 2023 (IMF). The public debt is mostly external and concessional, and relies on international lenders (Coface). Budget deficit increased from -5.4% GDP in 2020 to -5.5% GDP in 2021, and is forecast to narrow to -4.5% GDP in 2022, remaining above the WAEMU community criterion of 3% GDP (Coface). Revenues from gold mining and cotton production are expected to increase, but capital spending supporting major infrastructure projects will remain significant (Coface). Inflation increased from 0.5% in 2020 to 3% in 2021, but is forecast to decrease to 2% in 2022 and 2023, staying below the ECOWAS convergence criteria thanks to the CFA franc’s euro peg (IMF). The 2022 budget is focused on fiscal consolidation and implementation of the IMF program. In February 2021, the IMF Executive Board allowed for an immediate disbursement of about USD 57.6 million to help meet the country’s financing needs and support social spending, as part of a 3-year Extended Credit Facility with a total value of USD 192 million. With such funds, Mali is also expected to implement a structural reform program aiming at improving public finances and debt management, while promoting economic diversification, energy infrastructure enhancement (electricity), and human capital improvement. However, political instability could compromise access to financing. The main challenges faced by the country are the fragile security situation, political instability, inadequate infrastructure, financial and governmental capacity constraints, commodity prices volatility, and unfavourable weather conditions (drought).

Mali is classified as a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) and, as such, it benefited from debt cancellation under the IMF's HIPC Initiative. According to the latest World Bank figures, 42.3% of Malians live in extreme poverty. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas (90% of all poor) and in the south of the country. According to ILO estimates, almost three-quarter of the economically active population work in the informal economy; whereas the unemployment rate in 2020 stood at around 7.7% of the total workforce (World Bank).

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 17.4919.1518.4319.3921.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 864918858876921
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 47.351.955.955.855.3
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.39-1.92-1.45-1.37-1.35
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.2-10.0-7.9-7.1-6.4

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 GHS 148.62133.80121.19112.67102.86

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) 62.4 7.6 30.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 35.7 20.6 35.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.4 1.0 5.1

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
Afrol, Mali News
BBC Country Profiles - Mali
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water
Ministry of Agriculture
Central Bank of the West African States

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Latest Update: February 2023