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Select Economic and Financial Indicators 2014 2015 2016 2017e 2018f
Real GDP (% change) 7.0 6.0 5.8 5.3 5.0
GDP (USD bn) 14.4 13.1 14.0 15.0 16.3
Inflation (average) 0.9 1.4 -1.8 1.5 2.4
Fiscal Balance (% GDP) -2.9 -1.8 -3.9 -3.5 -3.3
Broad Money (% change, end period) 7.1 13.2 7.3 11.1 12.5
Population (mn) 17.0 17.5 18.0 18.5 19.1
Exports (USD bn) 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.5
Imports (USD bn) 5.5 5.2 5.5 5.9 6.0
Current Account Balance (% GDP) -4.7 -5.3 -7.1 -7.0 -5.6
FX Reserves (USD bn, end period) 1.0 0.7 0.3 0.0 0.1
Exchange Rate (average) 496.08 594.27 600.68 588.92 565.09
Sources: IMF, World Bank, UN, Bloomberg, Ecobank Research

Economic outlook

Economic outlook

Real GDP: growth is forecast to slow further in 2018, dropping to around 5.0%, from about 5.3% in 2017. Economic expansion will be supported by improved agricultural production, and the commencement of gold production from the Fekola and Yanfolila mines in late 2017. Nonetheless, higher growth requires further strengthening of the security and political situation, and the normalisation of commerce and internal trade undermined by sporadic security-related disruptions in recent years.

Inflation: will likely continue to accelerate in 2018, following a rebound to 1.5% in 2017 (against -1.8% in 2016), amid increased global oil prices, and domestic food price rises. However, inflation is expected to remain below the Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA) convergence criterion of 3%, as a strengthening bias of the EUR (to which the XOF is pegged) helps to contain inflationary pressure.

Fiscal balance: The fiscal deficit is expected to continue to narrow in 2018, continuing the trend from 2017. The deficit had widened beyond UEMOA’s convergence criterion of 3.0% of GDP in 2016, reaching close to 4.0% of GDP from 1.8% in 2015. Ongoing public financial management reforms are expected to help bring the deficit back in line with this benchmark level by 2019. The government aims to continue strengthening tax administration management and limit tax exemptions, with the objective of increasing tax revenue over the outlook period.

Current account: Increasing cotton and gold production will support the external sector in 2018 alongside a moderate increase in remittances. However, volatile gold prices and moderately increasing fuel import costs will maintain enough pressure on the current account deficit to keep it wide, at above 5.0% of GDP. Nonetheless, this is a marked improvement from an expected 7.0% deficit in 2017.


The government must continue to accelerate structural transformation, implement fiscal decentralization, improve the business environment, strengthen governance, and reform the structure of taxation of wages and salaries if the economy is to maintain growth of above 5%. Moreover, substantial effort needs to be made in support of the Peace Accord, such as higher targeted spending, without which the economy will continue to underperform. In addition, external shocks (related to the weather, commodity prices, and exchange rate movements) present perennial risks to the country.

FX, FI and Commodity Information

FX, FI and Commodity Information

Exchange Rate Structure

Regime Fixed
Target XOF655.957 to EUR1
Type of intervention Via Central Bank
Convertible currency? Partial
Market participants n/a
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, BCEAO, and Ecobank Research


FX Products Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
On offer Yes No No No No
Daily trading volume (USD mn) 3 million n/a
Average trade size (USD mn)
Average spread 1.50%
Trading hours Limited
Settlement cycle T+2
FX Market Structure BCEAO’s exchange regime is free of restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions, apart from restrictions maintaned for security.
Non-resident FX Regulations Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
Trade and FDI flow No restrictions n/a
Financial flow
Resident FX Regulations Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
Trade and FDI flow No restrictions n/a
Financial flow
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, BCEAO, and Ecobank Research


Primary Market Treasury bills Treasury notes Treasury bonds Central Bank bills OMOs
Issuer Government n/a Government n/a
End use Government financing Government & infrastructure financing
Maturity structure 28-days to 2-years 3- to 10-yrs
Coupon Zero Fixed
Coupon payments n/a Annual
Secondary Market  
Daily trading volume Limited trading n/a
Average trade size Limited trading
Settlement cycle T+2
Ecobank local affiliate contact details:
Ecobank Mali, Place de la Nation, Quartier du Fleuve, Bamako
Tel: +233 20 70 06 00
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, BCEAO, and Ecobank Research

FI primary market information

FI primary market information

Mali Debt 2014 2015 2016 2017e 2018f
Government debt (% GDP) 27.3 30.9 30.5 31.2 32.4
Sub-Sahara average 44.3 51.5 54.7 54.8 54.8
External debt (official creditors, % GDP) 19.5 22.9 22.6 24.2 25.4
Sub-Sahara average 25.4 29.5 31.3 33.0 33.4
External public debt stock (USD bn) 2.8 3.0 3.2 3.5 3.9
Share of total sub-Sahara debt (%) 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1

Commodity and trade information

Commodity and trade information

Hydrocarbon & mineral production

Mali is the third largest gold producer in Sub-Saharan Africa (after South Africa and Ghana), with estimated output of 63 tonnes in 2016. Informal artisanal miners also produced an estimated 21 tonnes of gold that year. Gold is Mali’s most valuable commodity export, and makes up one quarter of government revenues. Heavy investment in exploration and new production – notably at Canadian miner B2Gold’s Fekola mine and Hummingbird Resources’ Yanfolila mine – has put the sector on a rising trend, and the government hopes to raise production (including artisanal output) to over 100 tonnes in the near term.

Mali has no oil or gas production. According to the USGS, Mali’s Taoudeni Basin holds an estimated 762mn barrels of oil reserves and 8.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, political instability and security concerns have hindered active exploration of the country’s hydrocarbon potential. Mali consumed an estimated 1.2mn tonnes of petroleum products in 2016, a 4% increase on 2015. Mali has no refinery and relies on imports to meet its petroleum product needs, importing US$993mn worth in 2016.

Soft commodity production

Mali is West Africa’s second largest cotton producer after Burkina Faso. Mali’s cotton sector is run by the state monopoly, Compagnie malienne pour le développement du textile (CMDT), which is active throughout the cotton value chain, from collection to ginning and shipment. Since the 2013/14 season cotton production has risen steadily, reaching a record 266,000 tonnes of cotton lint in 2016/17. Output is forecast to grow further to 300,000 tonnes in 2017/18 which, if achieved, would restore Mali to its position as Africa’s largest cotton grower (ahead of Burkina Faso). Malian cotton fibre trades at a slight premium to Burkinabè fibre, owing to its longer staple length and reliable deliveries. Mali is the largest producer of milled rice in Francophone Africa, with estimated output of 1.7mn tonnes in 2016, some of which is exported to the sub-region. Mali is also a significant producer of live animals, a large portion of which are exported to Côte d’Ivoire.

Trade flows


Mali’s imports totalled US$3.8bn in 2016. As the country has no refining capacity, Mali is entirely reliant on imports of petroleum products, worth US$855mn in 2016, most of which come from neighbouring African countries. Mali is heavily dependent on imports of machinery, vehicles, electronics and pharmaceuticals (together worth US$1.1bn in 2016), reflecting the poorly developed manufacturing sector and the country’s role as a re-export hub for its landlocked Sahelian neighbours. The country also imports large volumes of cereals, worth US$163mn in 2016, along with fertilizer (US$215mn), cement (US$201mn) and plastics (US$90mn).


Mali’s exports totalled US$2.8bn in 2016. Gold is Mali’s most valuable export, worth US$2bn in 2016, the bulk of which went to South Africa, the continent’s leading gold smelting and exporting hub. Although the value of cotton exports has fallen by one third since 2012, Mali remains West Africa’s second largest cotton exporter, with total exports worth US$266mn in 2016, most of which went to China, Malaysia and India. Mali also exported US$228mn worth of live animals to neighbouring countries (mostly cows, sheep and goats), US$94mn of fertilisers and US$73mn of vehicles & machinery.

  • Flag
  • Population
  • Area
    1,240,192 km2
  • Capital
  • Largest city
  • Official language
  • Major languages
    Bambara, Bomu, Tieyaxo Bozo
  • Currency
    West African CFA Franc (XOF)

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