Mali’s economic growth has been influenced by several exogenous shocks and the growth rate has hovered at around 4.5% over the last decade mainly driven by rapid growth in labour supply, urbanization, extensive agriculture, public investment, and gold mining activities. Growth slowed in 2015 to an estimated 5.2%, down from 5.8% in 2014. Medium-term macroeconomic prospects are good with overall growth forecast as 5.2% in 2016 and 5.0% in 2017 driven by public investment and foreign aid and by the agricultural and service sectors. The economy is projected by World Bank to grow by around 5 percent over the period 2017-2019 in response recent surge in international aid.
Why invest in Mali?
Mali is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) that enables investors to have access to the wider market.
In early 2012, there was a military coup and an occupation of the northern regions by rebel groups. These events were rapidly followed by the deployment of French-led military forces in January 2013 and the French handed over their role of stabilizing Mali to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) mission in July 2013. Presidential elections were held peacefully in two rounds in July and August 2013, recording a high turnout of 49 and 46% of eligible voters. Local government elections scheduled for October 2015 were postponed to the fourth quarter of 2016. Peace negotiations between government and the rebel groups were concluded with the signing of an agreement on May 15, 2015 by both the government and the Platform group, and the government and the Coordination group on June 20, 2015.
Mali has a population of 15 million with a growth rate of 3.6%. About 62% of the population live in rural areas with 5-10% of people living a nomadic lifestyle. Mali has a very young population with nearly half of people under the age of 15 and a median age of 15.9. The population growth of 3.6% is quite high but the government has pledged, through its national urban policy, to improve the life of urban dwellers, boost local economies, tackle under-unemployment and poverty, support socio-cultural diversity and strengthen local civic rights.
About 40 % of the population live in urban areas with growth rate estimated at about 2% per year.
Doing business in
The highlights of World Bank score of doing business in Mali are summarised as follows;
|Topics||World Bank 2017 Rank||World Bank 2016 Rank||Change in Rank|
|Starting a Business||108||172||
|Dealing with Construction Permits||142||146||
|Protecting Minority Investors||145||145||–|
|Trading across Borders||89||88||-1|
Mali created a Presidential Investment Council in 2011 with World Bank support with the aim of improving the business climate in Mali and identifying best prospects for investment.
The Malian investment code allows the foreign transfer and conversion without limits of funds associated with investments, including profits. As a West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) member, Mali uses the Franc of the Financial Community of Africa (FCFA) that is linked to Euro as its currency. The FCFA supported by the French treasury is fully convertible at a fixed exchange rate of Euro 1 = FCFA 655.957. The FCFA has not been devalued since January 1994.
Mali uses its Commerce Code, Labour Code, and the Code on Competition and Price to govern disputes. Mali’s judicial system has some degree of independence. In November 1991, an independent commercial court was established to expedite the handling of business litigation. The investment code allows a foreign company that has a signed agreement with the government to refer to international arbitration any case that the local courts are unable to resolve. Mali is a member of the African Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law (OHADA) and has ratified the 1993 Treaty creating the Joint Arbitration Court. Mali has been a member of the World Bank Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) since 1990. Mali is also a member state to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention). Mali also signed and ratified the convention of the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitrage Awards (1958 New York Convention).
Key development challenges
- Mali lacks adequate electricity and other infrastructure to support the economic development;
- To control the terrorist groups;
- Enhancing the investment climate;
- Managing corruption;
- Mali depends on development partners for short term funding ;
- Lack of trained and experienced manpower and
- The challenge of delivery of service in a sparsely populated country
Mali is ranked number 116 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries and scored 32 points out of 100 on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
The political crisis that unfolded throughout 2012 pushed the country into unprecedented turmoil, deterioration of the economic situation, and uncertainty in the investment climate. Mali is generally peaceful but one has to be careful when travelling in Northern Mali that suffers from periodic episodes of violence related to inter-tribal politics.
Unemployment and skilled labour
The unemployment rate was estimated at 30% in 2015 and 8.1% in 2014 by the USA Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Current information is not readily available.
Attitude to Foreign Direct Investment
The government with the support of development partners is developing a new regulatory framework for public-private partnerships that will guide the country in attracting investors to the country to exploit the investment opportunities in the various sectors of the economy. The framework will enhance the capacity of government to fight poverty. The Agency for Investment Promotion (API) provides a one-stop shop to make business registration easier and to promote foreign and local investments. API accords equal treatment to both local and foreign investments.
The Malian government has also instituted policies and institutes that promote direct investment and export-oriented businesses. A ministry in charge of Investment Promotion, Private Sector Initiatives and industry has been created. In 2011, the government also created the Agence pour la Promotion des Exportations du Mali (APEX-Mali) to promote and encourage export-oriented activities.
Restrictions on Foreign investment
Foreign investors can own 100 percent of any businesses they create, except in the mining and media sectors. For example, foreign investors in the mining sector can own up to 90 percent of a mining company. Foreign investors in the media companies must have a 50 percent or lower ownership stakes. There is no screening process to review or approve foreign direct investments other than normal business registration procedures. They can also purchase shares in government privatized companies or in other local companies. Foreign companies may also start joint-venture operations with Malian enterprises. The repatriation of capital and profit is guaranteed.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights.
There are two primary agencies involved with the protection of intellectual property rights: the Malian Office of the Rights of the Author (BUMDA) and the Malian Center for the Promotion of Intellectual Property (CEMAPI). The CEMAPI is the primary agency for industrial property rights violation claims, while the BUMDA covers artistic and cultural works. In 2014, the government adopted a National Strategy for the Development of Intellectual Property Rights (SNDPI) that is intended to encourage innovation and protect inventors.
Mali’s natural resources include gold, uranium, phosphates, kaolinite, salt and limestone.
Information about Investment climate in Mali has been summarized to include the following;
Development partners of Mali
Double Taxation Treaties in Mali
Exports of Mali
International Trade Agreements with Mali
Investment Authority of Mali
Investment incentives in Mali
Investment Guarantees in Mali
Investment Opportunities in Mali
Natural resources of Mali
Trading partners of Mali
Mali Stock Exchange
Sources of information