Mali at a glance
• Geographical position: Mali is a vast landlocked West African country in the heart of the semi-arid Sahel region sharing borders with seven neighbouring countries.
• Area: 475,000 square miles (about the size of Texas and California combined)
• Capital: Bamako
• Population: 14.5 million people; 46 per cent are younger than 15 years. 51 per cent are women.
• Ethnic groups: Mande 55 per cent (Bambara, Malinké, Soninké), Fulani 17 per cent, Voltaic 12 per cent, Songhai 6 per cent, Tuareg and Moor 10 per cent.
• Major languages: French, Bambara and Arabic
• Major religions: Islam, indigenous beliefs
• Livelihood: The majority lives in the southern parts of the country and is dependent on the environment for their livelihoods (herding, farming and fishing).
• Political background: After a military coup in 1991, ending three decades of authoritarian rule, Mali started its transition to multi-party democracy with elections in 1992. The government is headed by President Amadou Toumani Touré, commonly called ATT, who was re-elected to a second five-year-term in 2007.
• Economy: Per capita GDP: 680 USD (2009). The country is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export, along with gold.
• Poverty level: Half of Mali’s population lives below the poverty line: less than a dollar a day (57.6 per cent in rural areas and 25.50 per cent in urban areas).
• Life expectancy at birth: 65.5 years
• Under-five mortality: 191 children die out of every 1,000 live births
• Infant mortality rate: 96 infants die out of every 1,000 live births
• Life time risk of maternal death: 1 in 15
• HIV prevalence among young people (15-24 years): 1.3 per cent (0. 9 per cent among women and 0, 5 per cent among men)
• Nutrition: low birth weight incidence: 18.9 per cent; stunting: 28 per cent; children suffering from anaemia: 72 per cent
• Access to safe water: 70 per cent
• Use of improved sanitation facilities: 35.8 per cent
• Female illiteracy rate (15-24 years): 75 per cent
• Birth registration: 80.8 per cent
• Primary school net enrollment attendance: 62.1 per cent (55.2 per cent for girls and 69.1 per cent for boys)