The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was elected to a second term in 2007 elections that were widely judged to be free and fair. Malian returnees from Libya in 2011 exacerbated tensions in northern Mali, and Tuareg ethnic militias started a rebellion in January 2012. Low- and mid-level soldiers, frustrated with the poor handling of the rebellion overthrew TOURE on 22 March. Intensive mediation efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) returned power to a civilian administration in April with the appointment of interim President Dioncounda TRAORE. The post-coup chaos led to rebels expelling the Malian military from the three northern regions of the country and allowed Islamic militants to set up strongholds. Hundreds of thousands of northern Malians fled the violence to southern Mali and neighboring countries, exacerbating regional food insecurity in host communities. A military intervention to retake the three northern regions began in January 2013 and within a month most of the north had been retaken. In a democratic presidential election conducted in July and August of 2013, Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA was elected president.
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); the election scheduled for 29 April 2012 and delayed following the March 2012 coup took place 28 July 2013 and a runoff election was held on 11 August 2013; prime minister appointed by the president
Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA 77.6%, Soumaila CISSE 22.4%
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 19 members organized into 3 civil chambers and a criminal chamber); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office:
Supreme Court members appointed by the Ministry of Justice to serve 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members selected - 3 each by the president, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; members serve single renewable 7-year terms
High Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases of high treason or criminal offenses by the president or ministers while in office)
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red
note:uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the same as those of neighboring Senegal (which has an additional green central star) and the reverse of those on the flag of neighboring Guinea
Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country highly dependent on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. The country's fiscal status fluctuates with gold and agricultural commodity prices and the harvest. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River and about 65% of its land area is desert or semidesert. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. The government in 2011 completed an IMF extended credit facility program that has helped the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali is developing its cotton and iron ore extraction industries to diversify foreign exchange revenue away from gold. Mali has invested in tourism but security issues are hurting the industry. Mali experienced economic growth of about 5% per year between 1996-2010, but the global recession and a military coup caused a decline in output in 2012. The interim government slashed public spending in the context of a declining state of security and declining international aid.
national public TV broadcaster; 2 privately owned companies provide subscription services to foreign multi-channel TV packages; national public radio broadcaster supplemented by a large number of privately owned and community broadcast stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
current situation: Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; women and girls are forced into domestic servitude, agricultural labor, and support roles in gold mines, as well as subjected to sex trafficking; Malian boys are found in conditions of forced labor in agricultural settings, gold mines, and the informal commercial sector, as well as forced begging both within Mali and neighboring countries; Malians and other Africans who travel through Mali to Mauritania, Algeria, or Libya in hopes of reaching Europe are particularly at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking; men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to the longstanding practice of debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali; some members of Mali's black Tamachek community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices, and this involuntary servitude reportedly has extended to their children; reports indicate that non-governmental armed groups operating in northern Mali recruited children as combatants, cooks, porters, guards, spies, and sex slaves
Tier 2 Watch List - Mali does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; although the government enacted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in 2012, it did not demonstrate evidence of overall increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; the government has failed to prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders, has not provided any direct services to victims, and has not made any tangible prevention efforts; the government continues to cite a lack of personnel and resources as reasons for its inability to adequately identify and rescue child victims of forced labor in the mining industry (2013)