Economic studies
Mali

Mali

Population 16.2 million
GDP per capita 804 US$
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Synthesis

major macro economic indicators

  2014 2015  2016 (f) 2017 (f)
GDP growth (%) 7.0 6.0 5.4 5.3
Inflation (yearly average) (%) 0.9 1.4 1.0 1.3
Budget balance (% GDP) -2.9 -1.8 -4.3 -3.8
Current account balance (% GDP) -4.7 -5.1 -6.0 -5.2
Public debt (% GDP) 27.3 30.9 29.8 30.2

 

(e) Estimate (f) Forecast

STRENGTHS

  • Third largest African producer of gold and cotton; livestock rearing country
  • Stabilisation of the political situation and drive to restructure the economy
  • International aid

WEAKNESSES

  • Economy vulnerable to weather conditions and to commodity price fluctuations
  • Landlocked
  • Fragile security situation

RISK ASSESSMENT

A relatively dynamic economy

Activity slowed very slightly in 2016 on the back of lower growth in agricultural output. It was however driven by public investment spending and increased credit, with the commercial banks continuing to benefit from the accommodating policy of the regional central bank (BCEAO). Growth is forecast to stay at the same rate in 2017, still sustained by State investment. Meanwhile, gold production is expected to improve and then increase more strongly in the following year, thanks to production starting at two mines. This positive outlook is still subject, nonetheless, to risks associated with the fragility of the security situation and the vulnerability of agricultural production to weather conditions (the agricultural sector accounts for over a third of GDP).

The country is counting on diversifying its economy eventually thanks to its oil potential and reserves of iron ore and bauxite. Progress with this could, however, be slow due to infrastructure shortcomings, weak commodity prices and a difficult business environment.

Inflation is likely to rise slightly in 2017 as a result of the modest increase in world commodity prices.

 

Deeper budget and current account deficits

Fiscal policy was eased, in principle temporarily, in 2016, to allow for public spending on investment and security as well as that relating to implementation of the peace agreement. The increase in the deficit was mainly financed by recourse to the domestic and regional market and a contribution from the IMF (which is supporting the government's economic programme through an Extended Credit Facility). Progress has, however, been observed in reforms of the fiscal administration and management of public finances. The 2017 draft budget bill sets a target for slightly lower budget deficit due to better tax collection and the temporary nature of some investments. A gradual reduction in the deficit towards the 3% target by 2019 would allow the authorities to maintain the public debt at a sustainable level (the country benefited several years ago from substantial debt relief under the HIPC/MDR initiatives).

The current account deficit would remain relatively high in 2017 due to the increase in capital goods imports associated with the development and reconstruction projects under way and a slight increase in the oil bill, as well as in the price of food products. Exports of gold, which account for two thirds of sales of goods abroad, and those of cotton (13% of total exports) are projected to rise in connection with higher output and a slight increase in prices. The high level of public and private transfers (expatriate worker remittances) limits the extent of the current account deficit, which is mainly financed by external aid and official loans, and, to a lesser extent, by foreign direct investments.

 

The security situation is still very fragile

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, elected in August 2013 following the recapture of the Northern half of the country occupied by Islamist groups, thanks to French military intervention and the mobilisation of the international community, is expected to remain in power until the next presidential election scheduled for late 2018.

However, the security situation is still very fragile, with the Jihadist groups not having signed up to the peace agreement in June 2015 continuing to clash with the United Nations forces (MINUSMA) and the Malian army and to carry out attacks against civilians in the north and centre of the country. Moreover, quarrels within the member groups of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad and the ambiguous government's relations with the self-defense organization, the Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et alliés, two groups that are party to the agreement, are greatly slowing its implementation. The continuing insecurity could eventually affect consumer, business and donor confidence.

Meanwhile, the implementation of governance reforms continues at a slow pace, especially as regards the fight against corruption.

 

 

Last update: January 2017

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