Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960.
Head of state:
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita since 2013.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly since 2013.
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.
FCO travel advice for Mali
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Last updated: 02 April 2012
We advise against ALL travel to Mali.
• You should leave Mali if you have no pressing need to remain.
• The British Embassy in Bamako has re-opened following the temporary suspension of operations as a result of the attempted coup d’état on 21 March 2012. A curfew imposed from 18:00 to 06:00 has now been lifted, but we continue to advise British nationals in Bamako to exercise caution and stay away from crowds and demonstrations when travelling around the city. There have been reports of some shops beginning to run low on supplies and of long queues forming outside some banks. If you need to leave your house, you should exercise caution and stay away from crowds and demonstrations. If you need urgent consular assistance, contact the FCO in London on +44 (0)20 7008 1500. You should continue to check for updates to this travel advice or subscribe to e-mail alerts. You should register on LOCATE so that we are able to contact you in an emergency.
• The airport has partially re-opened. Some flights are operating but are heavily subscribed. Given ongoing instability in the country, and now that the airport has re-opened, you should leave if you have no pressing need to remain.
• Attacks by Tuareg rebels have taken place since mid January 2012 in a range of areas across the north of Mali. Over the weekend of 31st March, further attacks by rebels resulted in the capture of Gao and Timbuktu from government control. Along with the capture of Kidal on 30th March, this has left northern Mali effectively outside of government control.
• There is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorists have been involved in kidnaps in the region, on a number of occasions leading to the murder of the hostages. Following an attack on four tourists on 25 November 2011, in which one was killed and three others kidnapped, the Malian authorities have evacuated all foreign tourists from Tombouctou (Timbuktu). We believe that further kidnap attempts are likely.
• You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.