Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometers (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako. Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent and salt. A majority of the population (90%) are Muslims..

Political Profile/Structure/System

Until the military coup of March 22, 2012 and a second military coup in December 2012 the Politics of Mali took place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Mali is head of state with a presidentially appointed Prime Minister as the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The president is chief of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. The president is elected to 5-year terms by direct popular vote. He is limited to two terms. The president appoints the prime minister as head of government. The president chairs the Council of Ministers (the prime minister and currently 27 other ministers), which adopts a proposals for laws submitted to the National Assembly for approval of them..

Elections and Political Parties

Mali elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 160 members, elected for a five-year term, 147 members elected in single-seat constituencies and 13 members elected by Malians living abroad. Mali has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments. Political parties: Alliance for Democracy in Mali. Rally for Mali. Africa Solidarity for Democracy and Independence. Convergence for Alternative and change. .

By The Numbers

Primary education in Mali was compulsory up to the age of 12, but only 49.3 percent of girls (64.1 percent of boys) attended primary school during the 2005-6 school year. Girls' enrolment in school was lower than boys' at all levels due to poverty, cultural tendencies to emphasis boys' education, and early marriages for girls. Other factors affecting school enrollment included distance to the nearest school, lack of transportation, and shortages of teachers and instructional material. Lower or single house Seats: 147; women: 13; % women: 8.8% .


Participation and Inclusion

Women in Mali also suffer from a lack of representation in government; only 14 women were elected to parliament in last year’s legislative polls, accounting for less than 10 percent of members. Representation issues are reflected in legislation that hampers gender equality. For example, Mali’s 2011 Family Code specifies that men are the heads of households and that wives must be subservient to their husbands.