Mali is a landlocked country (a country entirely enclosed by land) in West Africa. Mali borders Algeria to the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d’Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west.It has dry weather. It does not have many mountains. There are flat areas in the north, which are covered by sand, and there is savanna around the Niger River in the south. Most of Mali is in the Sahara Desert, so there is a hot, dusty haze in dry seasons. There are many natural resources in Mali, including Gold, uranium, salt, and limestone.

Physical features of Mali include the Sahara desert in the north, with the Niger River and Sénégal River in the southern part of the country. Mali is a similar size to South Africa, and it is two times bigger than Texas.  Most of the people live in the southern part of the country, with Mali’s capital and most populated city being Bamako.  Timbuktu was an important city in these empires because a lot of trade across the Sahara Desert went there. Timbuktu was also a good place for learning.

65% of its land area is desert or something similar. There were several long droughts there over the last hundred years. Therefore, most economic activity is near the Niger River. About 10% of the people are nomads and 80% of workers have jobs in farming and fishing. Women also do pottery and the pots are bought and taken to markets.

About 90% of people from Mali follow Sunni Islam, but they do not always forget their traditional religions. Muslims have their own schooling system. About 1% of the people are Christians. When Mali was under French control, Christian missionaries were sent to Islamic areas.

The language of Mali under French rule was French, but now not many people outside towns can read or write this language. However, about 60% of the people use other languages well. Many people can read and write in Bamanakan (the most popular spoken language). Other people can read and write in Arabic, after going to an Islamic school.

Adapted from Mali Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.