Mali: Truth, Knowledge, History Of The West African Nation


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Mali

Introduction The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup – led by the current president Amadou TOURE – enabling Mali’s emergence as one of the strongest democracies on the continent. President Alpha KONARE won Mali’s first democratic presidential election in 1992 and was reelected in 1997. In keeping with Mali’s two-term constitutional limit, KONARE stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was subsequently elected to a second term in 2007. The elections were widely judged to be free and fair.
History The area now constituting the nation of Mali was once part of three famed West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had neither rigid geopolitical boundaries nor rigid ethnic identities. The earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, which was dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. It expanded throughout West Africa from about A.D. 700 until A.D. 1078, when it collapsed due to invasions by the Almoravids.

The Mali Empire later arose on the upper Niger River, reaching the height of its power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient trading cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning. The empire later declined as a result of internal intrigue, ultimately being supplanted by the Songhai Empire in the 15 century. The Songhai people originated in what is now northwestern Nigeria; they had long been a major power in West Africa, though they had remained subject to the Mali Empire’s rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gradually gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded, ultimately subsuming the entire eastern part of the Mali Empire. The empire’s eventual collapse was largely the result of a 1591 Berber invasion. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region’s role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost their significance.

In the colonial era, Mali fell under the control of the French beginning in the late 1800s. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, the union of Mali (then the Sudanese Republic) and Senegal became the Mali Federation, which gained independence from France on June 20, 1960. Following the withdrawal of Senegal from the federation in August 1960, the Sudanese Republic became the independent nation of Mali on September 22, 1960, with Modibo Keïta as president. Keïta quickly established a one-party state, adopted an independent African and socialist orientation with close ties to the Eastern bloc, and implemented extensive nationalization of economic resources.

In November 1968, following progressive economic decline, the Keïta regime was overthrown in a bloodless military coup led by Moussa Traoré.[3] The subsequent military-led regime, with Traoré as president, attempted to reform the economy, but its efforts were frustrated by political turmoil and a devastating 1968-1974 drought.[3] The Traoré regime faced student unrest beginning in the late 1970s as well as three coup attempts, but it repressed all dissent until the late 1980s.[3] The government continued to attempt economic reforms, the populace became increasingly dissatisfied.[3] In response to growing demands for multiparty democracy, the Traoré regime allowed some limited political liberalization, but refused to usher in a full-fledged democratic system.[3] In 1990 cohesive opposition movements began to emerge, though the turbulent political situation was complicated by the rise of ethnic violence in the north following the return of many Tuaregs to Mali.[3]

Anti-government protests in 1991 led to a coup, a transitional government, and a new constitution. In 1992, Alpha Oumar Konaré won Mali’s first democratic, multi-party presidential election. Upon his reelection in 1997, President Konaré pushed through political and economic reforms and fought corruption. In 2002 he was succeeded in democratic elections by Amadou Toumani Touré, a retired General, who had been the leader of the military aspect of 1991 democratic uprising. Today, Mali is one of the most politically and socially stable countries in Africa.

Geography Location: Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
Geographic coordinates: 17 00 N, 4 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1.24 million sq km
land: 1.22 million sq km
water: 20,000 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries: total: 7,243 km
border countries: Algeria 1,376 km, Burkina Faso 1,000 km, Guinea 858 km, Cote d’Ivoire 532 km, Mauritania 2,237 km, Niger 821 km, Senegal 419 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: subtropical to arid; hot and dry (February to June); rainy, humid, and mild (June to November); cool and dry (November to February)
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Senegal River 23 m
highest point: Hombori Tondo 1,155 m
Natural resources: gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower
note: bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin, and copper deposits are known but not exploited
Land use: arable land: 3.76%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 96.21% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,360 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 100 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 6.55 cu km/yr (9%/1%/90%)
per capita: 484 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan
Politics Mali is a constitutional democracy governed by the constitution of January 12, 1992, as amended in 1999.[5] The constitution provides for a separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.[5] The system of government can be described as “semi-presidential.”

Executive power is vested in a president, who is elected to a five-year term by universal suffrage and is limited to two terms.[5][6] The president serves as chief of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. A prime minister appointed by the president serves as head of government and in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. The unicameral National Assembly is Mali’s sole legislative body, consisting of deputies elected to five-year terms.Following the 2007 elections, the Alliance for Democracy and Progress held 113 of 160 seats in the assembly. The assembly holds two regular sessions each year, during which it debates and votes on legislation that has been submitted by a member or by the government.

Mali’s constitution provides for an independent judiciary, but the executive continues to exercise influence over the judiciary by virtue of its power to appoint judges and oversee both judicial functions and law enforcement. Mali’s highest courts are the Supreme Court, which has both judicial and administrative powers, and a separate Constitutional Court that provides judicial review of legislative acts and serves as an election arbiter. Various lower courts exist, though village chiefs and elders resolve most local disputes in rural areas.

People Population: 12,324,029 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 48.2% (male 3,004,003/female 2,937,138)
15-64 years: 48.7% (male 2,976,314/female 3,028,433)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 150,597/female 227,544) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 15.8 years
male: 15.4 years
female: 16.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.725% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 49.38 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 16.16 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 103.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 113.41 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 93.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.94 years
male: 48 years
female: 51.94 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 7.34 children born/woman (2008 est.)

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