Facts & figures

Full name: The Republic of Mali

Population: 16.3 million (UN, 2012)

Capital: Bamako

Area: 1.25 million sq km (482,077 sq miles)

Major languages: French, Bambara, Berber, Arabic

Major religions: Islam, indigenous beliefs

Life expectancy: 51 years (men), 53 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes

Main exports: Cotton, gold, livestock

GNI per capita: US $610 (World Bank, 2011)

Internet domain: .ml

International dialling code: +223



President: Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took office in September 2013, promising to help unify the country after a rebellion, a coup and an Islamic insurgency plunged the country into near ruin.

He won the first election held since mutinous soldiers overthrew longtime President Amadou Toumani Toure early in 2012.


Visa & travel advice

The visa application fee for a US Citizen is $131 for all types of visa except for official and diplomatic visas which are free. This fee is not refundable. US Citizens are eligible for up to a (5) years multiple -entry visa.

Malian visa application form. For online orders, please download, print and sign Mali visa application, prepared by our system under your account.

Original, signed United States passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity.

Passport-type photographs: 2

Itinerary. Copy of round trip tickets or confirmed itinerary.

Yellow Fever Vaccination. Copy of International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever.

  • Best period

Though Mali is, by Western standards, hot all year round, it does have three seasons. February through June is dry and hot, especially in March through May. The rainy season lasts from June through November, with more humid and milder weather. November through February is cool and dry; we recommend that period for travelers who struggle with high temperatures.

  • Safety

Mali is known for being one of the most peaceful countries in West Africa. However, we advise checking the U.S. Department of State’s consular website for up-to-date Mali travel warnings, especially if you are considering traveling to northern Mali. Though Malians are known for being extremely helpful and generous: always have your wits about you while traveling, and mind your belongings.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Mali or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.


The history of the territory of modern Mali may be divided into

Pre-Imperial Mali, before the 13th century

the history of the eponymous Mali Empire and of the Songhai Empire during the 13th to 16th centuries

The borders of Mali are those of French Sudan, drawn in 1890. They are artificial, and unite part of the larger Sudan region with parts of the Sahara. As a consequence, Mali is a truly multiethnic country, majority of its population consisting of a number of Mandé peoples Mande ethnicities.

The history of the country is dominated by its role in trans-Saharan trade, connecting West Africa and the Maghreb. The Malian city Timbuktu is exemplary of this; situated on the southern fringe of the Sahara and close to the River Niger it has played an important role in the trans-Saharan trade from the 13th century, with the establishment of the Mali Empire. The Mali Empire spread of Islam to Sub-Saharan Africa|became Islamic in the early 14th century, under Musa I of Mali. From that time until the 19th century, Timbuktu remained important as an outpost at the southwestern fringe of the Muslim world and a hub of the Arab slave trade.

Arts & Culture

  • Music :

The Music of Mali is, like that of most African nations, ethnically diverse, but one influence predominates; that of the ancient Mali Empire of the Mandinka (from c. 1230 to c. 1600). Mande people (Bambara, Maninke, Soninke) make up 50% of the country's population, other ethnic groups include the Fula (17%), Gur-speakers 12%, Songhai people (6%), Tuareg and Moors (10%) and another 5%, including Europeans. Mali is divided into eight regions; Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Mopti, Ségou, Sikasso, Tombouctou and Bamako (the eighth region, Kidal, was created in 1991).


  • Literature

Mali has an extensive and well-known position within African literature.

The ruler of the Songhai Empire at the time, Askia the Great was a patron of literature.[1] According to the 16th-century Moroccan explorer Leo Africanus, writing in 1510 CE,


  • Film industry

Mali's cinema is comparitively less known than the world famous movies of its neighbors, Senegal and Burkina Faso. But it's not for want of excellent films. Almost all of its key filmmakers were born in Bamako, the capital and largest city. After over a century of exploitation at the hands of the French, Mali initially cozied up to the USSR. Many of Mali's directors honed their craft at the world's oldest film school, the Всесоюзный государственный институт кинематографии (also known as VGIK, the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography) in Moscow. The school is the alma mater of Tarkovsky, Iosseliani, Eisenstein, Parajanov, Bondarchuk and Sokurov. The faculty included Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzchenko and other noteworthy figures. Many Malian films incorporate Soviet-developed visual techniques to make films that are sometimes nearly wordless pieces of visual poetry which can overcome illiteracy and Mali's over 40 spoken languages.


  • Famous monuments

Great mosque Djenne


Dogon people


Timbuktu city



  • Architecture history

Typical of this area is the so-called West Sudanese architecture, characterized by the use of sun-baked clay bricks of various shapes. Majestic artistic expressions of this architecture are the beautiful mosques of the northern cities of Djenné and Mopti. The Sudanese style also decorates the facades of many traditional compounds in cities and historic villages. Many rural and urban Malians live in compounds, an enclosed space encompassing a number of two-room houses occupied by an extended family and/or, mostly in the cities, by renters. The first room is typically used for sleeping and receiving guests, while the back room is a more private space and is used for storage and/or sleeping. The use of Western materials, such as tin roofs and cement, is associated with higher social status, and in the cities such materials tend to replace traditional materials. Western materials require less maintenance, but they are more expensive and make for a much hotter space than traditional clay architecture.


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