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About Mali

Mali is a landlocked country with a population of around 20 million and a population density of 17 people per km2. Much of northern Mali lies in the Sahara Desert, while the southern region experiences a wetter monsoon climate. The average annual rainfall reaches 1200 mm in the south, including the Sikasso area, one of the country's leading agricultural regions. Along with the threat of decreasing soil fertility, the country’s food security levels is also affected by internal civil strife, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Around 80% of the population relies on agriculture for their food and income, with the main crops being millet and sorghum in the central region, and maize and cotton prevailing in the south. Other important crops are millet, sorghum, cowpea, peanuts and rice. Livestock is most important in the central region, with almost 7 million cattle and 18 million small ruminants (sheep and goats) in 2002. The official language is French, with Bambara widely spoken in most of the country. The country ranks 184 of 189 in the 2020 human development index report, with a score of 0.434. These figures indicate a low human development rating for Mali.