Mali Economic Outlook

  • The country’s peace and reconciliation agreement, signed on 15 May and 20 June 2015, has stabilised political life, but the security situation is still fragile.
  • Growth slowed in 2015 to an estimated 5.2%, down from 5.8% in 2014, but the economic recovery since the 2012 crisis has reduced poverty slightly, to 46.9% in 2014 (from 47.1% in 2013).
  • Population growth (3.6%) remains high but the government has pledged, through its national urban policy, to improve the life of urban dwellers, boost local economies, tackle under-unemployment and poverty, support socio-cultural diversity and strengthen local civic rights.

Economic activity slowed in 2015, with real gross domestic product (GDP) increasing an estimated 5.2% (5.8% in 2014), due to poor agricultural sector performance (growth of only 3.9%, down from 14.8% in 2014). The secondary sector fared badly too, with growth of 2.6% (9.2% in 2014). In agro-industry, overwhelmingly plant-oil mills, growth fell to 18% (down from 35% in 2014) because of poor agricultural output, especially cotton. However, growth strengthened in the tertiary (services) sector, at 6.9% (up from 3.6% in 2014). The current account deficit (including grants) improved to 3.6% of GDP (from 5.7% in 2014) due to lower oil prices and more volume exports of gold, improving the terms of trade to 15.2% (from 5.3% in 2014). The current account deficit is expected to be entirely funded by foreign direct investment (FDI) in gold and telecommunications and by foreign loans.

Medium-term macroeconomic prospects are good, with overall growth forecast as 5.2% in 2016 and 5.0% in 2017, driven partly by more public investment and foreign aid and by the agricultural and service sectors. But the current account (including grants) deficit is expected to widen to 4.1% of GDP in 2016 and 5.2% in 2017 due to lower gold production and poorer terms of trade. The deficit should again be funded by FDI in gold and telecommunications and by foreign loans. The good prospects could be undermined by continuing risks such as the security situation, unpredictable gold and cotton prices and bad rainfall.

Mali has made progress in recent years towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of universal primary education (Goal 2), combating HIV/AIDS (Goal 6) and access to safe drinking water (Goal 7, target 10). The security crisis has set back this progress but it should be strengthened with implementation of the 2015-30 UN Sustainable Development Goals that the country has also signed up to.

The humanitarian situation remains a worry in the north, especially for 2.5 million people dependent on humanitarian aid, internally displaced people (62 000) and refugees (140 000). These difficult conditions did not stop 423 427 refugees and displaced people returning to the region. Humanitarian groups have drafted a USD 354 million (US dollars) plan for 2016 to help the most vulnerable.