Mali Economic Outlook

  • The economic recovery that began in 2013 produced 5.8% growth in 2014 (up from 1.7%), with 5.4% expected in 2015 if a peace agreement is signed in Algiers.
  • Despite government and international efforts, the 2012 political and security crisis increased the poverty rate from 41.7% in 2011 to 42.7% in 2012.
  • Spatial inclusion has become a national priority, to rebuild the state, restore security and revive the economy.

The economy remained firm in 2014 and GDP growth increased to an estimated 5.8% after recovery began the previous year with an expansion of 1.7%. This was mainly due to the primary sector (up 9.4%), where good harvests boosted agriculture by 13%. The services sector (+4.8%) also contributed, with a revival of activity in transport and telecommunications (+7.4%) and commerce (+3%). But the secondary sector did poorly (+1.8% compared with +5.5% in 2013), despite growth in agro-food (12.2%), energy (10%) and construction (5%) because of the general economic revival. The current account deficit (including grants) worsened in 2014 to 6.2% of GDP, from 1.8% in 2013. It is expected to improve over 2015 and 2016 due to cheaper imports as a result of lower oil product prices. Terms of trade improved because of the drop in oil prices.
Medium-term macroeconomic prospects are good and the economy should advance with GDP growth of 5.4% in 2015 and 5.1% in 2016, once again driven by agriculture and the services sector, as well as by the large-scale return of technical and financial partners. The revival is expected especially in construction and services, where growth of 5.6% and 7% is predicted for 2015. The deficit in current operations (including grants) should decrease slightly to 5.5% of GDP in 2015 and be funded by foreign direct investment in the gold and telecommunications sectors and by foreign loans. But these predictions could be upset by unpredictable prices for Mali’s two main exports, gold and cotton, and the fragile security situation.
Mali is on the way to achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in universal primary education, combating HIV/AIDS and access to clean water. But progress in recent years has been undermined by the security situation and political instability, so probably not all the MDGs will be reached.
The humanitarian situation is still very shaky in the north of the country. Attacks continue on army positions and the UN peacekeeping forces (MINUSMA) and fighting persists even between different armed groups. This has produced serious food shortages and malnutrition, requiring urgent food aid for some 1.7 million people (including 260 000 with emergency needs). Refugees and displaced people returning home face difficult conditions. A USD 481 million strategic response plan was drafted by the humanitarian community in 2014.