Mali is a landlocked nation in northwest Africa. Mali shares borders with 7 countries including Algeria, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Much of the country is inside the Sahara Desert.
Population: 17.4 million
Ethnic Groups: Bambara (34.1%), Fulani (Peul) (14.7%), Sarakole (10.8%), Senufo (10.5%), Dogon (8.9%), Malinke (8.7%), Bobo (2.9%), Songhai (1.6%), Tuareg (0.9%), other Malian (6.1%), from member of Economic Community of West African States (0.3%), Other (0.4%)
Languages: French (Official), Bambara (46.3%), Peul/Foulfoulbe (9.4%), Dogon (7.2%), Maraka/Soninke (6.4%), Malinke (5.6%), Sonrhai/Djerma (5.6%), Minianka (4.3%), Tamacheq (3.5%), Senoufo (2.6%), Bobo (2.1%), Unspecified (0.7%), Other (6.3%)
Religions: Muslim (94.8%), Christian (2.4%), Animist (2%), None (0.5%), Unspecified (0.3%)
CIA: The World Factbook - Last Updated July 11, 2017
In Canada: 2,530
In the GTA: 115
Mali became independent from France in 1960, but endured three decades of dictatorship. Today, Mali is a multiparty democracy and continues to enjoy peace and political stability. Although the country struggles with poverty, living conditions are improving and healthcare is relatively inexpensive. The population is overwhelmingly Muslim, and religion plays an important role in Malian society. On Friday, businesses close at midday to allow practicing Muslims to attend Friday prayers at a mosque. Christians constitute only a small percentage of the population, and most of them are Catholics. Mali is a secular state with freedom of religion.