In 1895, the territory called the Sudan (now known as Mali) became part of the French colony of French West Africa, and the local population began producing cash crops , mainly groundnuts, cotton, and gum arabic. The colony merged with Senegal in April 1959 to form the Federation of Mali, which became independent from France on June 20, 1960. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali on 22 September 1960. President Modibo Keita declared the country a 1-party state, under the Union Soudanaise-Ressemblement Democratique Africain (US-RDA).
Keita's Marxist regime severed links with France and developed close relations with the Eastern bloc countries, especially the USSR. A coup in 1968 led to a military regime under Lieutenant (later General) Moussa Traoré. Traoré's dictatorship ended in 1991. By 1992, Mali's first democratic elections were held, and Alpha Oumar Konare, the leader of the Alliance pour la Démocratie au Mali (Alliance for Democracy in Mali, ADEMA), was elected president. Despite political difficulties, including several new prime ministers over the next few years and the disruption of several strikes, Konare won re-election in 1997. President Konare continued to push through political and economic reforms and to fight corruption but indicated in 1999 that he would not run for a third term.
There are 8 administrative regions: Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Tombouctou. The constitution was adopted on 12 January 1992, providing for 3 branches of government: executive, legislative, and judiciary. The executive is headed by the president elected by popular vote for a 5-year term. The legislature is a unicameral National Assembly of 147 seats to which members are elected by popular vote to serve 5-year terms. The legal system is based on the French civil law system and customary law, with judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Court (which was formally established on 9 March 1994).
Mali's level of government expenditure was 25 percent of the GDP in 1998, and revenues were 22 percent. This financial flow resulted in a budget deficit of just under 3 percent of the GDP, within the IMF guidelines, and in normal circumstances (that is, in the absence of a drought), the inflation rate should remain below 5 percent a year. Since the creation of a democratic government in 1992, the military has withdrawn from politics. In 1996, military expenditures were only 2 percent of the GDP.
Corporate profit tax rates are moderate at 35 percent, while smaller enterprises such as partnerships pay only 15 percent. Agricultural enterprises pay 10 percent, but small-scale family farms are not taxed. In cases of low profits or losses, a corporation tax of 0.75 percent of turnover is levied. There is an employment tax of 7.5 percent of the wage bill. A withholding tax of 18 percent is levied on interest and dividends paid abroad.