Amadou Toumani Touré
(pronounced "AH-mah-doo too-MAHN-ee TOO-ray")
"My first ambition is to reconcile my country with its 50 years of tumultuous political history plagued with fratricidal struggles, with its sorrows, exclusions, tragedies, intolerance and lack of consensus."
The Republic of Mali, formerly the French Soudan, is a landlocked nation in West Africa. The mighty Niger River and its tributaries run through much of the southern half of the country, but the northern half is made up of the Sahara and Sahel region bordering the desert. Its neighbors are Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, and Mauritania. The country takes its name from the ancient West African empire of Mali that was at its height in the fourteenth century, controlling much of the savanna area of West Africa. The Republic of Mali has an area of 1,240,192 sq km (478,841 sq mi) and is divided administratively into eight regions.
Mali had an estimated population of 11.3 million in 2002. Despite a high infant mortality rate of 120 deaths per 1,000 live births, the country has experienced a 2.97% population growth rate. Life expectancy is 46 years for males and 49 years for females. The literacy rate in 2002 was 33%. The official language is French, but the Bambara language is spoken by a majority of the population, with other major languages being Fulfulde, Sonrai, Tamashek, Soninke, and Senufo. Approximately 90% of the people profess to be Muslims, with the remaining 10% favoring traditional beliefs or various denominations of Christianity.
The currency unit is the CFA franc . Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has been estimated at US $840 in 2001, but on average Malians earn about US $240 a year, making Mali one of the poorest countries in the world. The main exports are raw cotton and cotton products (accounting for approximately 50% of export totals), cattle, and gold. Its major trading partners are France, Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal.
Office of the President