Mali

The Salvation Army started its first work in Mali in 2007. In 2010, Mali became a separate region. Today, there are six Salvation Officers and 345 Salvation Soldiers working in the region.

General

Capital: Bamako
Surface area: 1.241.000 km²
Number of inhabitants: 18 million
Language: French and Bambara
Religion: Islam
Currency: CFA (West African Franc)
Goverment form: federal republic 

Development

Mali has a score of 0.427 on the Human Development Index (HDI). The score is compiled of numbers related to life expectancy, education and income per capita. Once classified in numbers, this number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Mali ranks number 182 out of the 186 countries worldwide. (source: UNDP

History

During the fifth century, current day Mali belonged to the kingdom of Ghana. Until the 10th century, the kingdom of Ghana was a powerful trading kingdom until it perished after an invasion of the Islamic Almoravides from Morocco in 1078.In the 14th century, a part of the kingdom of Ghana split up in Songhai and the kingdom of Mali. Within the kingdom of Mali, Djenné and Timbuktu grew into important trading cities. At the end of the 15th century the kingdom got more and more engulfed by Songhai till the Moroccan invasion meant the collapse of the Songhai empire in 1591.From 1905 Mali was colonized by France. The French renamed the area the French-Sudan. This stayed the same till after the Second World War. In 1958 the area gained its own political power and two years later, on 22 September 1960, the Republic of Mali became independent. (source: landenweb)

Politics

With Mali’s independence, President Modibo Keïta came to power. He abolished democracy and created a one-party system. After a period of economic decline, he was deposed in 1968 by a military coup led by General Moussa Traoré. During his military regime - between 1968 and 1974 - there was a lot of political unrest and a famine caused by drought. During the time that Traoré was in power, three coups were committed, which Traoré managed to endure. However, he was deposed in 1991 when, during the March Revolution, the people of Mali rebelled and demanded a democracy. Traoré decided to deploy the army against the demonstrators, but when the soldiers joined the demonstrators, he eventually caved. In the aftermath of the revolution, a new democratic constitution came to be and elections were held. In 2002, Amadou Toumani Traoré was elected president. At first Mali started becoming more politically stable under his regime. However, in 2012 the Malian army committed a coup because the president had apparently been working together with the rebels in the country. (source: landenweb)

Economy

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. 80% of Malians who are working are employed in agriculture. Cotton, sugar cane and peanuts are grown for export. Cotton is currently the most important export product, especially since the low wages within the sector are interesting for export countries. In addition, Mali is the third largest fish producer in North and West Africa. The main fishing areas are the inner delta area of ​​the Niger and the lakes area. There are about 100.000 fishermen in Mali, most of whom belong to the Bozo people. Also, the Malians who are abroad (there are about 3 million of them) are very important for the domestic economy. They often have a job abroad and transfer money to family members. (source: landenweb)  

Culture

Ninety percent of Malians is Muslim. The remaining 10 percent is Christian or follows an indigenous religion. Mali knows several groups of people. The Bozo are mostly fishermen who live along the Niger in small elongated villages. De Peuls are cattle farmers and live around the Niger Delta. During the eighteenth century, the Peuls were oppressed by the agricultural activities and rebelled through jihads. The Tuareg live in the North Malian desert area. They lead a nomadic existence as farmers. The Tuareg are also Muslims but with a few different characteristics. They are strictly monogamous and the women have an important role within the community. Furthermore, the men are veiled and the women are not. Because of the prolonged dry periods during the seventies and eighties of the 20th century, the Tuareg almost lost all their livestock. In the early nineties this led to a civil war between the Tuareg and the Malian government army. Another group of people is the Moors. They are also nomadic people, but with Arabic origin. They travel with their cattle through the Sahara and the Sahel. Most Moors live along the Mauritanian border and around Timbuktu. The most famous people of Mali are the Dogon people. They still maintain their traditional animistic lifestyle. Initially they settled along the Niger, but in the 15th century they were forced to leave by Muslims. They then settled along the Falaise de Bandiagara, a 200-kilometer-long chasm wall in the southeast of Mali. Despite the fact that the Dogon people are focused on agriculture, they also have cattle. Most Dogon employ Peul people to care for the cattle as they find themselves superior to this work. (source: wereldinformatie)