flag Mali Mali: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Despite major security concerns, Mali’s economy has enjoyed steady growth rates during these last years, supported by strong agricultural production (especially for cotton) and high gold prices. After contracting by 1.6% in 2020 as a consequence of the global economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the GDP resumed its growth path in 2021 (+3.1%) but experienced a deceleration in its expansion in 2022 (at around +2.5%), due to sanctions imposed by both ECOWAS and WAEMU from January 9th to July 3rd. Specifically, the economy faced a trade embargo with other ECOWAS nations, restricting all products except for essential primary goods. According to the IMF, real GDP growth is projected to rebound to over 5% in 2023 and 2024 thanks to strong agricultural and gold output.

In 2022, the government fiscal deficit stood at approximately 5% of GDP, as a consequence of the swift growth in security spending, public wages, and interest expenses (these three factors account for almost 80% of fiscal revenues). Furthermore, the absence of external financial aid, alongside stricter financing conditions resulting from global monetary policy changes, has led to a rise in funding costs while the available sources of funding have decreased. In late 2022 and early 2023, Mali's government regional debt issuances experienced low subscription rates, possibly due to a tightening of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) bank refinancing conditions. As a result, the need to reduce the fiscal deficit and move closer to the 3% fiscal deficit limit set by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) has become increasingly pressing. The debt-to-GDP ratio continued to increase, from an estimated 51.9% in 2021 to 55.9% in 2022, and is forecast to decrease only marginally to 55.8% this year and 55.3% in 2024 (IMF). The public debt is mostly external and concessional, and relies on international lenders (Coface). Inflation reached an average of 8% over 2022 but is expected to ease in line with international prices and the tightening of monetary conditions by the Central Bank of West African States (3% and 2.5% in 2023 and 2024, respectively). Over the next years, Mali is expected to implement a structural reform program aiming at improving public finances and debt management, while promoting economic diversification, energy infrastructure enhancement (electricity), and human capital improvement. However, political instability could compromise access to financing. The main challenges faced by the country are the fragile security situation, political instability, inadequate infrastructure, financial and governmental capacity constraints, commodity price volatility, and unfavourable weather conditions (drought).

Mali is classified as a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) and, as such, it benefited from debt cancellation under the IMF's HIPC Initiative. According to World Bank's figures, 19.1% of Malians were living in extreme poverty in 2022, 3.2% more than one year earlier due to the erosion of the purchasing power of the most vulnerable, owing to soaring consumer prices and weak economic growth. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas (90% of all poor) and in the south of the country. According to ILO estimates, almost three-quarters of the economically active population work in the informal economy; whereas the unemployment rate in 2021 stood at around 2.6% of the total workforce (World Bank, latest data available). The IMF estimated the country’s GDP per capita (PPP) at USD 2,656 in 2022.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 19.1721.3123.0724.6226.18
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 8479139579901,019
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 51.751.852.652.952.7
Inflation Rate (%) n/a5.
Current Account (billions USD) -1.32-1.38-1.32-1.17-1.06
Current Account (in % of GDP) -6.9-6.5-5.7-4.8-4.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 800.68749.15741.42732.38737.93

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 67.7 10.0 22.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 36.4 20.0 35.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.1 3.8 3.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 6,949,2257,179,7227,384,320

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 71.58%71.47%71.33%
Men activity rate 83.33%83.09%82.77%
Women activity rate 60.02%60.03%60.04%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica, Mali News
BBC Country Profiles - Mali
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water
Ministry of Rural Development
Central Bank of the West African States

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Latest Update: December 2023

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