Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960.
Head of state:
President Amadou Toumani Touré since 2002.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Django Cissoko since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Larger towns in Mali have their own locally-generated supply. European-style plugs with two circular metal pins are used.
With its giant mud-built mosques, villages carved into cliff-sides and massive camel caravans traversing the desert, Mali makes for a stunningly surreal destination.
Rapidly developing, particularly in the main cities, tourists can find high standards of accommodation and cuisine on offer. Intriguing and colourful markets, vast desertscapes and ancient tombs and relics are all waiting to be discovered. All of this makes it hard to believe Mali is one of the world's poorest countries.
Once an overseas territory of France, Mali gained independence in 1960, and today it is one of the most politically and socially stable countries in Africa.