More information about Mali is available on the Mali page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Mali in 1960, following its independence from France. In 1992, Mali moved from a one-party state to multiparty democracy. In March 2012, while an armed rebellion overtook the north of the country, Mali’s elected civilian government was removed in a military seizure of power, and an interim administration was subsequently put in place to facilitate a return to elected government that occurred in 2013. Despite a peace agreement designed to address the northern armed groups signed in June 2015 and the presence of UN peacekeeping forces, implementation of the Algiers peace accord has faced several challenges, and non-signatory extremist groups are still active throughout Mali. After the president interfered with the results of the April 2020 parliamentary elections, lethal protests ensued. In August 2020, a group of military officers seized the opportunity to overthrow the elected government. In October 2020, that group ceded power to a transition government, with an 18-month mandate to hold elections and return Mali to constitutional rule. On May 24, 2021, the military officers detained civilian transition officials, and on June 7, Colonel Assimi Goita was sworn in as transition president. Following a prolonged negotiation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the transition period was extended to 24 months dated to March 2022, concluding with presidential elections in February 2024 and a transition in March 2024.
U.S.-Mali relations have been strong for decades and have been based on shared goals of improving stability and reducing poverty through economic growth. Mali remains near the bottom of the Human Development Index, notably in health and education. Mali continues to face serious security challenges.
The United States is committed to international efforts to help Mali restore peace and stability throughout its territory following the 2020 coup d’état, and the loss of large swaths of the country’s territory to violent extremist groups. The MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) peacekeeping mission has been working since 2013 to help restore and maintain Mali’s territorial integrity. The 2015 Algiers Accord, which the transition government has committed to implementing, provides an opportunity for Mali to regain the path towards stability and prosperity. The Accord’s comprehensive plan includes mechanisms to demobilize armed militias; reform the Malian military; institute crucial political and institutional reforms; jumpstart development in northern Mali; and lay the foundations for durable reconciliation between Mali’s diverse communities. The United States will continue to support Mali in achieving its goals of peace and economic development, recognizing that progress will require strong commitment from each of the signatory parties to implement their obligations under the Accord.
U.S. Assistance to Mali
Despite some restrictions, U.S. foreign assistance continues to support the Malian people. U.S. bilateral foreign assistance to Mali’s development otaled approximately $148 million for development assistance and $75 million for humanitarian assistance in FY 2021. Between 2018-2021 57 percent of the development budget was for health initiatives, followed by agriculture (18 percent), education (14 percent), and peacebuilding and governance (11 percent). Understanding the need to strengthen Mali’s stability to further development investments, U.S. assistance to Mali seeks to support the country’s fragile peace and implementation of the Algiers Accord. Key U.S. interests in Mali include promoting a stable democracy and improved governance; promoting regional security by combatting terrorists and traffickers who seek to exploit ungoverned spaces in the Sahel; reducing chronic vulnerability by improving social development and increasing sustainable livelihoods; and encouraging economic growth, opportunity, and development by supporting sustainable development and increased U.S. economic investment. From these interests our mission goals include:
- America’s security at home and abroad is enhanced by Mali’s increased capacity to protect its borders, secure its population, counter violent extremist organizations, combat transnational crime, and plan strategically.
- Mali’s democratic institutions are strengthened, its governance more responsive, and its respect for human rights improved.
- Mali’s population makes significant advances in socio-economic conditions through economic development, increased resilience to shocks (e.g., climate change), and improvement in the country’s business environment.
Following the August 2020 coup, restrictions under section 7008 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (the Act) and similar provisions in prior-year acts, now apply to assistance that directly benefits the Government of Mali. Through a notwithstanding authority, limited security assistance to law enforcement partners continues.
U.S. foreign assistance is administered through a whole of U.S. government approach that includes but is not limited to the longstanding in-country presence of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), Department of State (DOS), and the Department of Defense (DOD) and out of country presence of DOS/Population,
Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Furthermore, Mali is a focus country for U.S. assistance priorities and initiatives, including but not limited to: Women, Peace, and Security (WPS); the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSTCP); the Security Governance Initiative (SGI); Global Climate Change (GCC); Feed the Future (FTF); Water for the World Act; Resilience; the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR); the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA); and Preventable Child and Maternal Death (PCMD).
USAID’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy for 2022-2026 represents the United States’ continued support for the Malian people and fully aligns with Mali’s national development and humanitarian assistance priorities and plans. The strategy strikes a balance between tried-and-true development interventions that yielded solid results over the past several decades and renewed, better integrated efforts to confront long-standing development and humanitarian challenges. The approach builds on previous gains in education, health, and agriculture while helping Malians to address deficits in governance, peacebuilding, and basic needs. The strategy will also help Malians improve their resilience to shocks and stresses resulting from conflict, climate change, and food insecurity. At the heart of this approach is renewed emphasis on community-driven development, greater attention to localization, and the inclusion of marginalized groups, especially women and youth, to ensure that all USAID programs achieve meaningful and sustainable impact. The strategy optimizes short and longer-term impacts by integrating development and humanitarian assistance across sectors to enable Malian actors to sustain their own development. By aggregating efforts with our Malian and international development partners, communities that we support will be healthier, better educated, more prosperous, and better equipped to prevent and respond to shocks and stresses, optimizing development impact and reducing the need for humanitarian assistance.
Prolonged displacement, disrupted trade flows, and constrained humanitarian access continue to increase vulnerabilities among affected households. Mali is experiencing a complex emergency stemming from the outbreak of conflict in 2012, climate change, and regional sectarianism. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as insecurity, violence, and chronic vulnerabilities couple with recurrent shocks, such as droughts and floods. USAID’s humanitarian response is focused on the north and, increasingly, the center of the country. More than 35 percent of the Malian population, approximately 7.2 million people, live in areas affected by crisis, and 5 million people experience food insecurity and 5.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities in Mali, particularly vis-a-vis health systems, already weakened by conflict and insecurity, and water, sanitation, and hygiene. As a result, food insecurity is expected to increase by 20 percent. Meanwhile, the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to rise. January 2021 recorded over 147,000 refugees and in April 2021 IDPs surged past 372,000, the highest number to date. The majority of IDPs have limited access to basic social services and many do not have adequate shelter. The precarious situation in which they live can put them at heightened risk of the direct and indirect impacts from COVID-19.
In FY 2021 the U.S. government through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and DOS/PRM provided over $83 million to support food security, health, water/sanitation, nutrition, protection, livelihoods, and disaster mitigation. Using flexible, rapid response mechanisms and programs, this assistance also seeks to build local capacity; support development assistance where possible; and leverage and improve the contributions of key stakeholders. From FY 2011 to FY 2020 over $474 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance funding has gone to Mali through USAID. On November 9, 2021, the Mission redeclared a disaster to the ongoing complex emergency in Mali, permitting uninterrupted U.S. humanitarian assistance for multi-sectoral lifesaving assistance to IDPs and the most-acutely affected populations experiencing conflict, crisis, and/or food insecurity.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Prior to the 2020 coup and the COVID-19 crisis, Mali’s economy was growing at five percent on average since 2014. Some foreign investment has returned in key sectors such as energy, but investment remains limited by continuing insecurity in the country. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 in particular, real GDP declined significantly in 2020. Mali is participating in the IMF/World Bank Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) which is providing space to focus resources on fighting the pandemic. Mali is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) although it is currently suspended.
Mali’s Membership in International Organizations
Mali and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Mali is also one of 15 member countries (although currently suspended) of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States); one of 55 member states (although currently suspended) of the AU (African Union); a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which aims to reduce trade barriers, harmonize monetary policy, and create a common market; and one of 12 member countries of CILSS (Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel).
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Mali maintains an embassy in the United States at 2130 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-2249).
More information about Mali is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Mali Page
USAID Mali Page
History of U.S. Relations With Mali
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Mali
Library of Congress Country Studies