Housing structures in Bamako are mainly like those of a European city. Elsewhere, housing ranges from similar urban structures to the tents of Tuareg nomads, the circular mud huts with thatched roofs characteristic of the indigenous African villages, and traditional Sudanese architecture. The latter employs a common building material called banco, a mixture of wet mud and straw that dries into a hard, almost cementlike consistency. This is applied over wooden frames and can be used for buildings of several stories. The buildings resemble those in North Africa and the Middle East.
Since World War II, the growth of Bamako and other towns has been rapid, with government activity largely concentrated on improvement of urban housing and sanitation. The Real Estate Trust, a public corporation established in 1949, provides housing loans to persons wishing to build on their own land.
As of 1990, 100% of urban and 36% of rural dwellers had access to a public water supply, while 94% of urban and 5% of rural dwellers had access to sanitation services.