!!!!!!!!!!Mali s Geographic Makeup

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1 DANU Strategic Forecasting Group May 27th 2016!!!!!!!!!!Mali s Geographic Makeup By Liliana Pirlea Location: Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa. Mali is the 8th largest country in Africa and the 24th largest country in the world. Bordering countries: Mali borders with Senegal and Mauritania (West), Algeria (North), Niger (East), and Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Guinea (South). Population density: The total land area is Km2 ( sq. miles) and the population density in Mali is 15 per Km2 (39 people per mi2). The population density varies from north to south mostly due to the presence of the capital and fertile soil in the south, and the unsecure situation and arid area in the north. At the present date, according to the latest UN estimates, the Malian population is The Malian population is equivalent to 0.24% of the total world population and it ranks number 62 in the list of countries by population. Within the Malian society 36.9 % of the population is urban based ( people in 2016). 1

2 Topography: Mali has a relief dominated by flat surfaces at an average altitude of 200 metres, and the hills hardly exceed 1000 metres in altitude. Its topography varies according to geology and natural region. The country is characterised by fourteen topographic regions divided into three natural zones: the cultivated Sudanese in the south, the semiarid Sahelian in the centre, and the arid Saharan in the north. The major river in Mali is the Niger (1693 km) which is important for the Malian economy as it provides water, fish, and transportation. The second most important river within the state is the Senegal River (1050 km) which separates Mali from Senegal. The central and southern areas are characterised by more fertile soils, whilst the North is characterised by the presence of the Saharan desert. Natural resources: The Malian soil contains: gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum and granite. Moreover, the country obtains its energy from hydropower. According to the US government, natural resources such as bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin and copper are recognised, but not exploited. Climate: Mali generally has a warm subtropical, and dry climate. About half of the Malian territory is occupied by the Saharan Desert. Within the country, only 2 to 4% of Mali is arable and capable of producing farm crops. As the country has little marked relief, its climate depends on factors such as wind, rainfall and temperature. The northern part of the country (Saharan zone) is hyper-arid and desertified, with water as its limiting factor. The rainfall (0 to 250 mm annually) is low, random or accidental as a consequence an aridity aggravated by the Harmattan. The Harmattan is a hot and dry wind that blows from the northeast or east in the Western Sahara and is strongest in late fall and winter (late November to mid-march). It usually carries large amounts of dust, which it transports hundreds of kilometres out over the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the dust often interferes with aircraft operations and settles on the decks of ships. The central part of the country is arid with rainfall between 250 and 550 mm. It is characterised by a long dry season of 9 to 11 months. The main activity is subsistence agriculture. The southern part of the country is semi-arid to sub-humid. The rainfall is between 550 and 1,100 mm. As a result of a more abundant rainfall, the agricultural activities are more intensive here with a certain guarantee of success. Geographical implication for security: Mali's borders were artificially created in 1960 from the division of colonial French West Africa. For this reason, the country is divided into two geographically distinct regions: the fertile and populated south and the arid north. Those two regions are separated by the Niger River. The south is populated by the Bambara people who have ethnic ties with neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Senegal. On the other hand, the North is populated by the Tuareg, a Berber nomadic group, with ethnic ties in Niger, Mauritania and Algeria. 2

3 Geographical Implications for security cont d: The major challenge for the central government is to control the northern area due to its vast size and distance from the capital. The Tuareg population, over the years, have developed a separatist attitude, accusing the central government of disregard. Also due to the presence of the massive desertified lands, it is extremely difficult for the central government to control the northern borders. The borders are the perfect passage for weapons, drugs and refugees. This under governed space within the region has become a safe haven for Islamist militants, primarily AQIM and affiliated groups, as well as smugglers of weapons and drugs. The states in the region lack resources, and both financial and institutional capacity, to effectively control organised militancy and criminality. Furthermore, a major problem is the impossibility to control and secure a vast area such as the Sahel region, which lacks primary control infrastructures like checkpoints and border patrol sections. Environmental challenges: The major environmental problem in Mali is the increasing desertification of the country. The environment is threatened by soil erosion, deforestation and the loss of pastureland. Due to the presence of the major water reservoirs in the southern area, Mali has an inadequate water supply. According to statistics, only 74% of city inhabitants and 61% of people living in rural areas have access to pure water. The country has 60 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 97% are used for farming and 1% for industrial purposes. 3

4 Resources: B r i t a n n i c a. ( ) H a r m a t t a n. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. C I A. ( ) M a l i. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. C o u l i b a l y, A. ( ) M a l i. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. E n c h a n t e d l e a r n i n g. ( ) M a l i. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. M a p s o f t h e w o r l d. ( ) W h e r e i s M a l i. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. N a t i o n s e n c y c l o p e d i a. ( ) M a l i E n v i r o n m e n t. [ O n l i n e ] Av a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. Stewart, D. (2013) what is next for Mali? The roots of conflict and challenges to stability. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. S t r a t f o r. ( ) M a l i ' s G e o g r a p h i c C h a l l e n g e. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. W o r l d d o m e t e r s. ( ) M a l i P o p u l a t i o n ( L I V E ). [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. Visual Images: B o o f o f G K. ( ) M a l i H i s t o r y a n d G e o g r a p h y. [ O n l i n e ] Av a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. Stratford Video. (2012) Mali's Geographic Challenge. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. 4

5 Maps: M a p s o p e n s o u r c e. ( ) M a l i C a p i t a l M a p. [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. Mapsopensource. (2016) Mali Location Map in Africa. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 19th May 2016]. 5

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