Developing Local Extension Capacity
Extract of a study by the The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project led by Digital Green, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Care International and GFRAS.
Mali is a landlocked, low-income country with a population of nearly 18 million. By 2020, the population of Mali is projected to increase to 20.9 million (INSTAT, 2012). The population is relatively young, with a median age of 16 years, growing at an average rate of about three percent (World Bank, 2018d). The capital city is Bamako and administratively Mali comprises 10 regions, each under the authority of an elected governor.1 The 10 regions are further divided into 49 districts (called “cercles” in French) and 703 municipalities (called “communes” in French). A majority of Mali’s population is concentrated in the south, along the Niger River, where climatic conditions are more favorable for agriculture (see Table 1). Sixty-three percent of the population lives in rural areas; however, this proportion is declining because of migration to urban centers [National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), 2012].
Mali’s political and economic situation has been very volatile over the past 60 years. The country gained independence from France in 1960. From the mid 1990s until 2010, the economy was growing at approximately five percent per year, but in 2012, a military coup d’état and a deteriorating security situation in the north brought gross domestic product (GDP) growth down to one percent. The coup d’état, coupled with an armed occupation of the northern region, left the country in a fragile state. In 2013, economic growth slowly resumed but was hampered by bad weather and poor crops. Following substantial financial support from the U.S., German and Canadian aid agencies, the economy’s growth rebounded to seven percent in 2014.
In 2015, the Government of Mali and two major rebel coalitions signed a peace agreement, bringing hope for stability. By the end of 2015, per capita gross national income was USD $760. Mali has since embarked on structural reforms and adopted various sound economic policies that have contributed to growth. This has led to increased cotton and mining production, steady investments and a relatively stable macroeconomic environment.
However, over two million people continue to be affected by the armed conflict in the north and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced both within the country and to neighboring countries. As of June 2017, there were estimated to be over 50,000 internally displaced peoples within Mali, along with 58,000 refugee returnees [United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 2017].