Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
April 30, 2013

More information about Mali is available on the Mali page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Mali in 1960, following its independence from France. In 1992, Mali moved from a one-party state to multiparty democracy. In March 2012, Mali's elected civilian government was removed in a military seizure of power, and an interim administration was subsequently put in place. There are rebel groups still active in northern Mali, and an ongoing international military intervention in the north to dislodge and disrupt terrorist organizations and return security and territorial integrity to Mali.

U.S.-Mali relations have been strong for decades and have been based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. The country’s democratic government had been in place for two decades and had significantly reduced poverty and improved the quality of life for many Malians. However, Mali remained near the bottom of the Human Development Index, notably in health and education. It also faced security challenges in the north.

The United States condemned the March 2012 coup d’état and has called on the junta to cease its interference in political affairs and allow for the full return of constitutional rule. The junta's continued interference in the government has undermined democracy in Mali, and the political chaos in Bamako created by the coup d’état enabled terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and armed rebel groups to capture northern towns and cities and effectively gain control over the northern two-thirds of Mali. These groups controlled the major population centers of northern Mali, including Gao and Timbuktu, until the international intervention by French and African forces in early 2013 stopped the southward advance of AQIM and associated elements and restored much of the northern territory to Mali’s political control. The United States continues to call for the swift return of democratic government through free, fair, and inclusive elections, and supports credible negotiations between the Malian Government and all parties in the north who have cut ties to terrorist organizations and who recognize, without conditions, the unity and territorial integrity of the Malian state. Only a democratically elected government viewed as legitimate by the Malian people will have the strength and credibility to address the political, security, humanitarian, and development crises facing the country.

U.S. Assistance to Mali

Prior to March 2012, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Peace Corps, and other U.S. Government programs aimed to foster sustainable economic and social development in Mali. USAID programs also sought to support peacebuilding efforts in northern Mali and consolidate the region's socioeconomic and political integration. Defense Department security assistance programs and training support sought to build Mali’s capacity to meet its various security challenges. In 2006, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year compact with Mali aimed at increasing agricultural production and productivity and expanding Mali’s access to markets and trade. The compact entered into force in September 2007 and was ended in August 2012.

As a result of the coup d’état on March 22, the United States formally terminated assistance to the Government of Mali on April 10, 2012, consistent with coup restrictions in section 7008 of the Department of State, Foreign Appropriations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act for 2012. Funding for programs that provide life-saving, critical assistance in health and food security, as well as democratic elections support programming, is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Full resumption of U.S. assistance to Mali depends on the return of a democratically elected government to office.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Mali is a small market for U.S. trade and investment, but there is potential for growth if Mali's economy expands. Exports to the United States include gold, art, and antiques, while imports from the United States include pharmaceutical products, machinery, fats and oils, and communications equipment. The United States has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, of which Mali is a member.

Mali's Membership in International Organizations

Mali and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Mali is Mary Beth Leonard; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Mali maintains an embassy in the United States at 2130 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-2249).

More information about Mali is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Mali Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Mali Page
U.S. Embassy: Mali
USAID Mali Page
History of U.S. Relations With Mali
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information

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