Mali: Conflict Insight
The Republic of Mali is located in the heart of the West Africa Sahel region. Between 1990 and 2017, its population increased from 8.5 to 18.5 million, with 41.6% of the population currently concentrated in urban areas. Its economy relies on agriculture and raw materials - mainly gold and cotton - that are highly exposed to price fluctuations in the global market. The Mande (50%) including the Bambara (37%) , Malinke and Sarakole combined (13%) are the largest ethnic group, followed by the Fulani (17%), Voltaic (12%), Songhai (6%), and the Tuareg and Moor combined (10%). Though 68% of the total population resides in rural areas, 90% of the total population lives in the southern part of the country. This uneven distribution points to internal migration driven by the search for economic opportunities and better livelihoods. Mali has a presidential political system based on three important institutions, the executive, legislative and judicial bodies, that are theoretically driven by the democratic principle of separation of powers to ensure transparency and rule of law. Yet, since gaining independence from France in 1960, the implementation of that democratic system was hampered by a series of coups d’état (1968, 1991, 2012) and cyclical Tuareg rebellions (1963, 1991, 2006, 2012) over grievances resulting from north-south rivalries. These conflicts fostered long-lasting authoritarian military rule that undermined transparency and the rule of law despite brief periods of apparent democracy between 1991 and 2012. The purpose of this report is to provide analysis and recommendations to national, regional and continental decision makers in the implementation of peace and security-related instruments.