Mali’s Business Environment

  1. Investment Opportunities
  2. Mali’s Business Environment

As Mali recovers from the multidimensional security, political, and economic crisis of the last four years, the Government of Mali (GOM) is looking towards foreign investment as a key promoter of stability. With current annual economic growth rates at over five percent, important political progress including the signature of a peace accord and the continuation of direct negotiations between the government and armed groups are sources of hope for further economic revitalization. Using this positive momentum, the Malian government expects an important increase of investment opportunities throughout the country, including in northern Mali, particularly in the mining and renewable energy sectors, as well as in infrastructure, agriculture, and tourism. The government also continues to strengthen the business environment by adopting measures to simplify business creation and operating procedures.

Despite an improving political environment and promising economic opportunities for U.S. firms, Mali faces significant electricity access, infrastructure, corruption, as well as drug trafficking and smuggling challenges, primarily in the northern conflict affected portion of the country. The instability in the northern regions has permitted terrorist groups to conduct attacks against westerners and Malian government forces. Both Malian and foreign businesses face corruption in procurement, importation, and export of products, paying taxes, and administrative processing, as well as land management.

After a tumultuous period in 2012 with negative economic growth and heightened insecurity, Mali’s economy is currently on the upswing with over 5 percent growth each year since 2014. The government is developing a new regulatory framework for public-private partnerships and hopes to welcome investors in the infrastructure, telecommunication, service, mining, as well as agricultural sectors. As a nation with development challenges, Mali continues to depend upon multilateral financial institutions including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and bilateral donors for short term funding. Local banks have a conservative lending strategy but are beginning to increase their lending portfolios. At the same time, the investment climate is benefiting from the financial and economic reform processes that accompany this institutional lending.

Given the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Mali, the Malian private sector considers products from U.S. to be high quality reliable goods and openly searches for new business partnerships with U.S. firms. Mali’s strong economy (projected to grow at 5.5 percent in 2016) and eagerness to attract foreign investment have made Mali a rewarding investment climate for U.S. companies.

Table 1

                      Measure   Year   Index or       Rank                             Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2015 95 of 168
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business” 2015 142 of 189
Global Innovation Index 2015 26 of 143
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2014 USD 1 million BEA
World Bank GNI per capita 2014 650 USD