Mali is a landlocked state in West Africa. It is the eighth-largest country in Africa, and it is bordered to the north by Algeria, to the east by Niger, to the west by Mauritania and Senegal, and to the south by Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. Its size is 1,240,192 km² and its estimated population is around 14.5 million inhabitants. Its capital is Bamako.
Around 80% of the Malian population works in agriculture and fishing. The Niger River constitutes an important source of wealth for the country. The main exported product is cotton. Its balance of payments has been strengthened by the income from gold and the large privatizations.