Background: The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup - led by the current president Amadou TOURE - enabling Mali's emergence as one of the strongest democracies on the continent. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first democratic presidential election in 1992 and was reelected in 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, KONARE stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was subsequently elected to a second term in 2007. The elections were widely judged to be free and fair.
Location: Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
Area land: 1,220,190 sq km
Area water: 20,002 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Mali
Country name conventional short form: Mali
Country name former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic
Population: 14,159,904 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 47.3% (male 3,372,717/female 3,325,188); 15-64 years: 49.7% (male 3,438,687/female 3,605,143); 65 years and over: 3% (male 199,862/female 218,307) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 2.61% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 45.62 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 14.29 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female; total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 111.35 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 118.15 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 104.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 52.61 years; male: 51.01 years; female: 54.26 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 6.44 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 76,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 4,400 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Malian(s); adjective: Malian;
Ethnic groups: Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%;
Religions: Muslim 90%, Christian 1%, indigenous beliefs 9%;
Languages: French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 46.4%; male: 53.5%; female: 39.6% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $16.74 billion (2010 est.); $15.91 billion (2009 est.); $15.24 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $9.077 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 5.2% (2010 est.); 4.4% (2009 est.); 5% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,200 (2010 est.); $1,200 (2009 est.); $1,200 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 45%; industry: 17%; services: 38% (2001 est.);
Population below poverty line: 36.1% (2005 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.7%; highest 10%: 30.5% (2006);
Labor force: 3.241 million (2007 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 80%; industry and services: 20% (2005 est.);
Unemployment rate: 30% (2004 est.);
Budget: revenues: $1.5 billion; expenditures: $1.8 billion (2006 est.);
Industries: food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining;
Industrial production growth rate: NA%;
Electricity - production: 515 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 479 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh;
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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Until the Somali National Security apparatus is able to stand strong on its own, Somalia will not be able to achieve full sovereignty.
For quite some time, international players have been conducting operations related to Somalia from across the Kenyan border in Nairobi.
Although it succeeded in shining an international light on Somalia's ongoing conflict, the London conference failed in some respects to address dangerous issues of tribalism.
Somali pirates are a menace to local waters as well as international security. Outside assistance should be provided to bolster the country's coast guard.