Mali (ML)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

French, as stipulated in the constitution.

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

There are 13 national languages (with legal status as such):

Ethnologue lists a total of 50 languages in Mali at

Linguistic Groups as Percentages of the Population (Dutcher 2004):

  • Fulfulde: 9.5%
  • Maninkakan: 8%
  • Soninke: 7%
  • Songhay: 6%
  • Mamara (Senoufo): 5-8%
  • Dogoso (Dogon): 4%
  • Supyire (Senoufo): 3-3.5%
  • Bamanankan (Bambara): 24%
  • Tamasheq: 3%
  • Bozo: 2 %
  • Tamajaq: 2%
  • Syenyara (Senoufo): 1%
  • Hasanya (Arabic): 1%
  • Xaasongaxango: 1%
  • Bonu: 1%
  • Pulaar: 1%
  • French: small number of first language speakers, but spoken by 15% of the population as a second language

(Languages in bold are national languages per Ethnologue).

Cartes linguistiques en Afrique : Mali et Burkina Faso / African linguistic maps : Mali and Burkina Faso (see also note re language maps?)

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue :

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Mali at

b) Agencies / Agences :

Three institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in Mali (UNESCO 1985, with modifications). Updated information is needed:

  • CNR-ENF (ex-DNAFLA [Direction nationale de l'alphabetisation fonctionelle et de la linguistique appliquee]) - BAMAKO (two versions of the name exist)
    • Centre national de recherche pour l’éducation non formelle
    • Centre national des ressources de l'éducation non formelle
  • Ecole Normale Superieure B.P. 241 - BAMAKO [now part of University of Mali]
  • Institut des Sciences humaines B.P. 159 - BAMAKO

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

The main language of formal education is French. However there has been increased effort in recent years to develop primary instruction in most of the national languages. It goes under the name of Pedagogie Convergente.

Literacy? in national languages has been pursued by various agencies over the years: DNAFLA and then CNR-ENF (see above) and DNEB (Direction Nationale de l’Education de Base)

Dutcher (2004) has a succinct history of the evolution of education and adult education policy.

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy? figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 19.0%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

Before colonisation the Arabic script was used to write indigenous languages (as such the writing is known as Ajami). This continues to some degree. Tifinagh was and is still used by Tamasheq speakers.

Since independence the government opted to use the Latin script with additional modified letters (extended characters) for literacy, education and publication in national languages. The current orthographies for Malian national languages were set in 1993 (DNAFLA 1993).

The N'Ko script is also used by some, especially for Manding tongues.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

A national agency produces a periodical in some national languages.

There are some authors who write and publish in Bambara. One publisher is Jamana.

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, circulation, language). Updated information is needed:

  • Kibaru, monthly, 20,000, Bambara
  • ''Jama quarterly, 500, Bambara
  • " , " , 500, Pulaar [sic]
  • Kote, quarterly, 2,000, Bambara
  • Nyetaa, quarterly, 2,000, Bambara

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire :

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines:
    • Telephone mainlines: 4 per 1000 people (APC)
    • Telephones - main lines in use: 75,000 (2005) (CIA)
  • Mobile subscriptions:
    • 250,000 (2.3 per 100 people) (ITU 2004 cited in Vodafone 2005)
    • Telephones - mobile cellular: 869,600 (2005) (CIA)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

  • Wikipedia reports: Mali has since 1994 ... allowed for private (as in non-state) radios to begin operating. Foreign funding, and some commercial funding (mostly in the capital) have helped to established 160 FM stations in Mali, though many of those are small community 'suitcase radio stations.' Private radio stations are required to be members of URTEL, the radio union "
  • CIA World Factbook reports: Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 28, shortwave 1 (the shortwave station in Bamako has seven frequencies and five transmitters and relays broadcasts for China Radio International) (2001)

FAO. 2006. "Emissions de radio rurale et jeunes ruraux au Mali: Etude de cas à Bla, Bougouni, Kolondieba, Koutiala." (La communication pour développement. Etude de cas 29)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI : 13 (2001) (Wikipedia)
    • "There are an estimated 24 private internet service providers. Recently an association has been formed called AFIM (Association de Fournisseurs de l'Internet au Mali), which is intended to represent these providers." (Wikipedia)
  • Internet hosts :
    • According to CIA: 278 (2006)
    • According to ISC: 26 on .ml domain (2007)
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 1.2 per 1000 people
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets: Several projects have installed telecenters in Mali:

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 60,000 Internet users as of Sept/06, 0.5% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.10 (ITU 2006); 0.12, ranked 169 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

2.3  Policy / Politique

Mali has an ICT policy.

Agence des technologies de l'information et de la Communication (AGETIC) is the Malian government organ responsible for cocordinating ICT development. See:

An early document on ICT policy: "Séminaire National sur la Mise en Place d'une Stratégie sur les Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication" (octobre 1999)

"Mali's NICI [National Information and Communication Infrastructure] development process was launched with the ECA in May 2002 during the first African Regional Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The process was resumed in August 2003, carried out in cooperation with UNDP and finalized in December 2004. The ICT Policy was adopted by the Council of Ministers and a decree was passed to create the "Agence des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication (AGETIC)", which has the mandate to implement the NICI plan. The NICI Policy and Plan documents were approved by the Cabinet in June 2005." UNECA/AISI (2006?)

More information relating to Mali's NICI policy process is available at:

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Mali" has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

Initiatives Mali Gateway "un site dédié à la promotion des initiatives locales de développement du Mali"

IICD has a page on Mali at . Projects include:

  • TOGUNET, Mali's first official and national ICT4D knowledge sharing network
  • E-kunafoni newsletter (focus on lobbying and advocacy); distribution 1000;
  • Capacity development activities mostly delivered by two partners, IDC and Afribone
  • With REONET, focusing on capacity related consultancies

WikiEducator has a page on uses of ICT for education at

(See also Computers & internet access - Project telecentres, above)

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

Some governmental sites (French only):

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

Geekcorps in Mali began an effort to develop Bambara language content for Wikipedia.

There is a website with Songhay content at

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

There are apparently some software localisation efforts beginning. One Prof. Vzero supposedly worked on some programs in Bambara. There is a nascent effort to translate some software into Songhay.

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Mali," Africa ICT Policy Monitor, ("Politiques de TIC en/au Mali," Observatoire des politiques des TIC en Afrique, )

Dutcher, Nadine. 2004. Expanding Educational Opportunity in Linguistically Diverse Societies, 2nd. ed. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), "Distribution of Top-Level Domain Names by Host Country, Jan 2007"

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2007.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Mali,"

République du Mali, Direction Nationale de l'Alphabétisation Fonctionnelle et de la Linguistique Appliquée (DNAFLA). 1993. Alphabets et règles d'orthographe des langues nationales. Bamako : DNAFLA.

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Mali,"

UNDP. 2006. Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006. New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNECA/AISI (2006?) "NICI Country Pages: Mali"

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "The World Factbook: Mali"

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005.

WikiEducator, "ICT4Africa/Country Report Mali,"

Wikipedia, "Communications in Mali,"

______, "Languages of Mali,"

______, "Langues du Mali,"

< Malawi | Countries | Mauritania >