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Foreign Direct Investment

FDI flows to Mali are weak and unstable due to the country’s fragile political and security situation. According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, FDI inflows declined in 2020 to USD 308 million, down from USD 721 million a year earlier, as a result of the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The stock of FDI was estimated at USD 6 billion in 2020. According to UNCTAD’ Investment Trends Monitor, global FDI flows rebounded strongly in 2021, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately. Most foreign direct investments are oriented towards mining (gold exploitation), oil extraction, textile industry, financial intermediation, telecommunication and infrastructure. African Gold Group, a Canadian company, is planning to start production at the Kobada mine (Coface). Mali’s leading investors are the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Ivory Coast (data BCEAO).

Mali benefits from substantial natural resources such as gold, bauxite and iron, and is Africa’s main cotton supplier. In general, the law treats foreign and domestic investment equally, but state-owned enterprises distort the economy and limits on ownership in the mining and media sector persist (90% foreign ownership limit in the mining sector, 50% in media). In recent years, the government of Mali has put in place FDI promotion policies aimed at encouraging competitiveness and private sector participation in almost all sectors, with a specific focus on the following ones: agribusiness, fishing and fish processing, livestock and forestry, mining and metallurgical industries, water and energy, tourism and hospitality industries, communications, housing development, transportation, human and animal health, vocational and technical training, and cultural promotion. Furthermore, foreign companies can negotiate ad hoc incentives on a case-by-case basis. However, the judicial system is inefficient and prone to corruption. State authority in parts of the North is still tenuous, and corruption remains a problem throughout the government, public procurement, and both public and private contracting, where demands for bribes are frequently reported (Mali ranked 136th out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, down 29 positions compared to 2020). Labour regulations, although not fully enforced, are relatively rigid. Increased political instability and the adoption of economic sanctions by ECOWAS and UEMOA in 2022 deteriorate business climate. Mali ranked 148th out of 190 countries in the latesta available Doing Business report published by the World Bank, losing three positions compared to the previous year.

Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 721537660
FDI Stock (million USD) 5,1996,2576,407
Number of Greenfield Investments* 343
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 203450450

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Mali Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 5.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 3.5 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 5.5 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.