The informal sector is particularly important in rapidly growing cities. However, he is faced with a number of serious problems. Income earned in the informal sector is often low, access to credit and means of production is severely restricted, and there is largely a lack of support strategies for this sector, which has hitherto been neglected by economic policy. In addition, especially in Bamako, there are always disputes between members of the informal sector and the city administration, which most recently took massive action against the use of public space by members of the informal sector in summer 2016.
The increasing number of microfinance institutions, such as the savings and small credit bank Nyèsigiso and the village savings bank network Kafo Jiginew, which was founded in 1987 and currently has 382,000 members, is of considerable importance, especially for the informal sector. Women are an important target group for microfinance institutions.
In 2010 it became known that the Jéméni savings and small credit fund was in very serious trouble. The number of savers affected by this was estimated at around 60,000 people nationwide. As a reaction to the grievances that had become known, there were demonstrations and an increased loss of confidence.
According to countryvv, Mali is a country located in Western Africa. In some parts of the country tourism had gained significantly in importance by 2009. The number of foreign tourists rose from 98,000 in 2002 to 250,000 in 2009, which means that tourism has meanwhile become an increasingly important economic sector (income from tourism in 2008: 115 billion FCFA), which was considered a future locomotive by the then tourism minister in 2008 of economic growth. However, due to the increasingly tense security situation, there has been a sharp decline in the number of foreign visitors since 2009 (71,000 European tourists in 2014 compared to 190,000 European tourists in 2008), which has had a very negative impact on local economic development in the tourist areas.
A UNESCO project to promote socially and environmentally compatible and sustainable tourism in the Dogon Country received a lot of attention.
Products and production methods
In agriculture, traditional methods of production dominate, which largely do without modern means of production. Exceptions are the modern irrigated rice cultivation, which benefits from subsidized means of production, and the export-oriented cotton cultivation. For several years the government has been promoting the use of tractors, most of which are locally assembled tractors.
The export-oriented cotton cultivation has expanded massively since the 1990’s (2003: 621,000 t of raw cotton), which has resulted in increasing ecological damage. In the period from 2006 to 2008, cotton production fell very significantly (low point in 2008 with only 201,000 t), with production falling. This was mainly due to the late payment of the cotton by the CMDT, the indebtedness of the farmers and increased production costs. In addition, the CMDT proved to be inadequately capable of supplying the cotton farmers with sufficient means of production. It remains to be seen whether the increase in cotton production since 2009 will last over the long term. From 2011 to 2012 an increase in cotton production from 245,000 t to 454,000 t was achieved. In 2013, however, at 440,000 t, production remained well below the target (522,000 t). The main reason for this was the fact that, given the price trend on the world cotton market the CMDT had announced the cancellation of a premium for cotton producers. The CMDT aims to increase cotton production to 800,000 t by 2018. However, the targets for cotton production were clearly missed in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, with a target of 650,000 t of raw cotton, only 513,000 t were produced. In 2016, the target was achieved with 645,000 t of raw cotton. In 2017, Mali rose to become the largest cotton producer in Africa with 706,000 t of raw cotton (target: 725,000 t). In 2018, 728,000 t of raw cotton(Target: 750,000 t) brought in a bumper crop. For 2019, the target was the production of 800,000 t of raw cotton, but this was not achieved (production in 2019: 700,000 t). For 2020, the target is the production of 820,000 t of raw cotton. However, the 2020 cotton campaign was affected by a massive boycott on the part of the cotton producer associations, which demanded a higher purchase price and more state support (especially subsidized artificial fertilizers). Estimates assume a harvest of less than 200,000 tons of raw cotton.
USAID has promoted the use of genetically engineered cottonseed since 2005, but it remained controversial. Cultivation trials with hybrid rice varieties are being carried out with the support of the People’s Republic of China.
In the development and introduction of biological security rules, the Malian government sought to intensify cooperation with the governments of other West African countries.
The biological cotton production is becoming increasingly important and is practiced by over 8,000 farmers in southern Mali. Certified organic cultivation methods are also increasingly being used in mango cultivation. The same applies to some extent to the cultivation of sesame.
Cotton harvest in Mali
The cultivation of vegetables and fruit has increased particularly in the surrounding areas of larger cities.
In northern and central Mali in particular, the Tuareg, Moors and Fulbe people practice traditional semi-nomadic and nomadic animal husbandry. In contrast to this, there is the development of chicken farming, which is increasingly practiced in the greater Bamako area, but which is increasingly endangered by illegal chicken imports.
In the craft sector, which is gaining in importance especially in cities, informal structures and simple techniques dominate. At the same time, the craft is receiving increasing attention in the context of development cooperation.
In contrast to artisanal gold mining, the mining techniques practiced by foreign companies in gold mining are capital-intensive and require appropriately trained specialists (often foreigners). The environmental damage caused by gold production is increasingly criticized.