Economic Profile

Mali is very rich in investment opportunities, some of which have yet to be explored. The flow of Foreign Direct Investment has been increasing steadily over the last years.


It is the foundation of the economy and therefore remains a priority sector. It remains the main source of income for over 80% of the population Mali.

The land available, particularly proper to agriculture, livestock and forestry, occupy nearly 46 million hectares. Of a total of approximately 12 million hectares of cropland, only 3.5 million hectares are currently being exploited. The potential of irrigable land is estimated to be more than 2 million hectares, more than half of which can be gravity-driven. The Office du Niger is one of the largest irrigated perimeters in West Africa. Established in 1932, the large works were designed and built to meet ambitious objectives. The hydraulic infrastructures comprise the Markala bridge-dam built on the Niger River and a dense network of irrigation and drainage canals. Among opportunities for investment:

Extension of acreages in the Office du Niger Processing of agricultural crops; Production of fertilizer: (estimated need in 2007 322109 tons. Opportunities are: Crushed natural phosphate production plants, and Phosphate chemical fertilizers production plants.

The cotton industry represents nearly 15% of GDP. Mali is the largest cotton producer and exporter in West Africa. However, less than 1% of cotton production is processed locally. Therefore, despite the cost of factors of production, the textile industry is an investment opportunity. Since 2003, Malian textile can be exported duty to the large US market under the AGOA.

Opportunities: spinning, production of loom-state fabric and manufacture of bazin dyed cloth.

Cereal crops are a major component of Mali’s agricultural production. The main crops are: rice, millet/sorghum, maize and fonio. Cereal crops account for 16% of GDP; with rice alone accounting for one-fifth of that percentage.

Mali’s sugar production is derived from sugar cane farming on the irrigated perimeters of the office du Niger. The national production is not sufficient to meet the demand. Given the potential expansion opportunities for sugar cane farming, the construction of new sugar factories would allow to meet local demand and export the surplus to regional and European markets.


Mali possesses the most important livestock population in West Africa. Stockbreeding plays a key role in Mali’s economy. It accounts for 10.8 % of GDP and represents the third largest export. There is a high demand for Malian cattle and meat.

Investment opportunities:

Modernization of the refrigerating slaughterhouses
Construction for new slaughterhouses for meat export;
Meat processing plants;
Cattle feed production units
Prepackaged meat production and export
Local milk processing plant
Infrastructure for local and international distribution.
Mali has a comparative advantage in the area of skins and hides, with a specialization index of 3.4 for rawhides and 2.91 for tanned hides. This is due to specialization, particularly in the hides of small ruminants, and to the loyalty of its export markets.

Fishing: Mali has one the most abundant fisheries in the Sahel with a potential of more than 200.000 tons. Thanks to the rivers Niger and Senegal, Mali provides 40% of the fresh water fish production in West Africa. The two major fishing zones are: the Lake zones (Selingue and Manantali) and the flooded zones (Central Niger Delta).

About 80% of the catches are processed on a small scale by producers into smoked, dried and burned fish. Investment Opportunities:

Establishment of industrial production plants for nets suitable for certain species of fish such as the bagrus ”samu”, gynarcus ”sea horse” and heterobrancus ”polio”; Establishment of modern enterprises for the production, processing, transportation, conservation and marketing of fish.


Accounts for a significant part of the national economy, representing 12% of GDP.

Without being an ELDORADO, Mali was always seen as a country endowed with a genuine mining potential. This was corroborated by a large number of historical references as well as established artisan mining activity, which is still being carried out.

Gold represents Mali’s primary export and the country is the third-biggest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Mali’s commercial mines have produced over 10 Moz of gold since 1990, and their measured and indicated resources total approximately 25 Moz. There are currently seven active commercial mining operations in Mali: Sadiola, Yatela, Morila, Syama, Loulo, Tabakoto and kalana.

In addition to gold exploration mentioned above, companies are also actively involved in exploration for diamonds, iron ore, base metals, bauxite and phosphates.

Oil & Gas

A good potential for oil and gas has been confirmed by:

Existence of possible reservoirs represented by Ordovician sommital sandstones, Devonian and Ordovician basal sandstones. Upper infracambrian quartz tic and fractured lime stones and Cambrian and upper infracambrian quartz tic sandstones; Discovery of favorable structures: Marhed in the compression zone against the threshold of Foum El Alba; Bouera, a horst with E-W direction; and Yarba, a normal anticline without reserve faulting, with an area of 180 km2 and a vertical closing of 200 to 300 m. Existence of several structural and stratigraphic traps in the Upper Ordovician formations. Currently, several companies are exploring on the ground. So far the results are very encouraging.

The Authority for the Promotion of Oil Exploration in Mali (AUREP), a division of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water, is in charge of promoting oil and gas exploration and to participate in the negotiations of related agreements and conventions. Since 2004, the Law N° 04-037 and its application decree n° 04-357, protect the investor, guarantees investment and allows for two types of agreements: a production sharing convention, and a Concession Convention.

Link: Petroleum guide / Hydrocarbons Law
For more info:
Related sites: National Directorate of Geology and Mines:


Mali has an important potential in energy resources. In 2006, Malian authorities have readjusted the National Energy Policy to make it more coherent and efficient. Its guiding principles are: decentralization, liberalization, programme approach, participatory approach, competitiveness, cross consistency and public-private partnership.

That same year was developed a National Strategy for Development of Renewable Energies. The overall objective of this strategy is to provide access of a larger number of people to clean energy that could contribute to sustainable development of the country.
Liberalized energy sector offers opportunities. The Government has been implemented a vast program of rural electrification.

Renewable energy
      - biodiesel production business from Jatropha
      - Ethanol production from sugarcane
      - Twenty hydroelectric sites of medium-and large scale have been identified throughout the country for a total of approximately 1150 MW equipment and a
        potential of about 5600 GWh, of which only 4 sites are now equipped (about 21% of potential).

The solar radiation is about 5 to 7 kWh/m2/day and is well distributed on the national territory.

The wind speed in the Sahelian and Saharan areas of the countries ranged from 3 to 7 m/s, on annual average.

Related links: Agency for the Development of Domestic Energy and Rural Electrification:

Agro Industry:

There is a great commercial potential in some non-traditional areas, including:

Oilseeds: shea butter, cashew, sesame;
Arabic gum;
Fruits and vegetables: mango, citrus, green beans, shallots, onion, tomatoes, potatoes hibiscus etc...
With some 87 varieties grown and a potential estimated at 200,000 tons per year in Mali, the mango industry provides a living for an estimated 100000 people. Tomatoes present a genuine opportunity for Mali. With a production of 55,000 tons, Mali is one the largest tomato producers in West African Economic and Monetary Union.


- Local and international distribution of fresh fruit and vegetable;
- Processing units for fruits and vegetable