After decades of French colonial rule and a brief federation with Senegal, the Republic of Mali was established in 1960.

Landlocked Mali’s economy is mostly confined to the area irrigated by the Niger River, but the government is encouraging diversification. Tax administration has been improved, and the cotton markets are moving toward privatization. Restrained public spending and stable monetary policy have stimulated a growing entrepreneurial sector.

Trade is moderately important to Mali’s economy; the combined value of exports and imports equals 47 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 10.6 percent. Nontariff barriers impede some trade. Government openness to foreign investment is above average.

Real GDP growth averaged 6.5% between 2014 and 2015 before slowing to 5.8% in 2016. The decline continued in 2017, to an estimated 5.5%, likely because of the primary sector’s underperformance (38% of GDP) due to a poor agricultural season. In the medium term, the economic outlook remains positive; real GDP growth is projected to be 5% in 2018 and 4.9% in 2019

Mali is a leading producer of gold (the world’s tenth largest and Africa’s third), although prospecting for other minerals is on-going. Artisanal mining, which accounts for about ten percent of production has picked up in the last two years. Recent discoveries have tripled the country’s bauxite reserves. Mali has rich deposits of gold, bauxite, manganese, iron ore, limestone, phosphates and uranium. Oil and gas exploration has slowed down since 2012, although Mali has proven reserves of oil shale. Mineral deposits are primarily located around Kayes, Ansongo, Bafoulamé, Hombori, Tilemsi and western Mali. Gold production dominates Mali’s natural resource sector, with Mali being the third largest gold exporter in Africa. Gold is by far Mali’s most important export, comprising nearly 70% of total exports in 2016. The price of gold fluctuates with the world market price. The sector has experienced some difficulties as unproductive mines have been closed, and others face imminent closure. However, three new mines are expected to open this year with a capacity of 20 tons a year. Two smaller mines opened in 2015. Gold panning contributes approximately 10% of gold exports. Over two million people, representing more than 10% of the population, depend on the mining sector for income. Total Local Production: 2014(49.8 Tons) 2015 (50 Tons) 2016 (50 Tons) Mali also has other mineral prospects as the majority of the territory remains largely unexplored and unmapped. The Ministry of Mines estimates 800 tons of gold deposits, 2 million tons of iron-ore, 5,000 tons of uranium, 20 million tons of manganese, 4 million tons of lithium, and 10 million tons of limestone. As the government seeks to reduce dependency on gold and diversify the mining sector, foreign firms have a unique opportunity to support this expansion. Mali has also formalized and reformed the process of registering and delivering research and exploitation permits to mining companies.