Policy & History

U.S. Relations With Mali

Fact Sheet

Bureau of African Affairs

September 6, 2018

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, followed by a return to elected government. Despite a peace agreement signed in June 2015 and the presence of UN peacekeeping and French forces, implementation of the peace accord has faced a number of challenges, and non-signatory extremist groups are still active in northern and central Mali.

U.S.-Mali relations have been strong for decades and have been based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. Except during the 2012 crisis, the country’s democratic government has significantly reduced poverty and improved the quality of life for many Malians. However, 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 2012 rebellion in the north, a coup d’etat, and the loss of the northern two-thirds of the country to violent extremist groups. French counterterrorism forces and the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) peacekeeping mission have been working since 2013 to help restore and maintain Mali’s territorial integrity. The Peace and Reconciliation Accord was signed by all parties on June 20, 2015. The accord provides an historic opportunity for Mali to regain the path towards stability and prosperity. The peace 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 sustained leadership on the part of the Malian government and commitment from the other accord signatories to implement their obligations under the peace accord.

U.S. Assistance to Mali

U.S. foreign assistance to Mali totaled more than $130 million in FY 2016 and over $145 million in FY 2017. Over $81 million was officially requested for 2018. First and foremost, U.S. assistance to Mali seeks to support the country’s fragile peace and implementation of the June 20, 2015, peace 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: (1) promoting democratic institutions, responsive governance, and respect for human rights; (2) enhancing regional security by building institutions to counter transnational threats; (3) advancing social development (particularly health and education); (4) increasing economic growth and sustainable livelihoods; and (5) promoting the U.S. as a key partner to Malian stakeholders, enhancing mutual understanding, and protecting the wellbeing of U.S. citizens.

U.S. foreign assistance is administered through a whole of government approach that includes but is not limited to the long-standing in-country presence of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the Department of Defense (DOD). 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), Resilience, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Death (EPCMD). On October 9, 2015, the U.S. government, through USAID, signed a formal agreement with the Government of Mali to implement USAID/Mali’s new 5-year Country Development Cooperation Strategy (available here).

USAID/Mali’s projected $690 million investment for FY 2016-2020 seeks the following goal: “Malians secure a democratic, resilient, and prosperous future” through four objectives: 1) Stabilization of conflict-affected areas reinforced (i.e: support for humanitarian assistance and transition to development in Mali’s northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal); 2) Fostering improved public trust in government (i.e: through improved public service delivery (especially health, education, and justice), administration of justice and respect for human rights, and citizen participation in Malian electoral processes); 3) Increased resilience and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities and households (through mitigation of climate change, countering violent extremism, economic diversification and strengthening human capital); and, 4) increased prosperity through advancing socio-economic well-being (particularly through improving health services and adopting healthy behaviors, reducing poverty and malnutrition through investment in agriculture, and promoting early grade reading for boys and girls). Underlying this goal is the understanding that a democratic, resilient, and prosperous future is unattainable if the country, as a whole, does not benefit from development assistance. U.S. programming focuses on achieving tangible peace dividends and continuing our commitment to working with all Malians.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The March 2012 military coup, compounded with the military invasion of northern Mali by extremist groups, led to a major political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. In addition, the suspension of the multilateral and bilateral assistance by Mali’s major technical and financial partners deprived the government of 85 percent of its investment resources, further weakening the private sector. The country was in recession in 2012 with a negative economic growth rate of -1.3 percent. Nevertheless, over the past six years, Mali has been on a path to recovery.

Mali’s economy is growing and some foreign investment has returned in key sectors such as energy, but investment is limited by continuing insecurity in the country. The structural adjustment facility agreements signed between the IMF/World Bank and Mali since 1992 encourage foreign investment. The government’s national strategy to fight poverty as presented to the IMF, World Bank, and other donors emphasizes the role of the private sector in developing the economy. Mali is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which aim to reduce trade barriers, harmonize monetary policy, and create a common market.

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 of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States); one of 12 member countries of CILSS (Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel); and a member of the Group of Five (G5) Sahel.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Mali is Dennis B. Hankins; other 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
U.S. Embassy
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
Travel Information