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Introduction: 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...

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History: Malians express great pride in their ancestry and pride themselves on a long history of peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups. Mali is the cultural heir to the succession of ancient African empires -- Ghana, Malinke, and Songhai -- that occupied the West African savannah. These empires controlled Saharan trade and were in touch with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern centers of civilization.

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International Relations: Mali has strong regional ties. President Toure has played a mediating role in Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. Mali was the chair of the sub-regional body ECOWAS in 2000 and 2001, and is a member of the West African Franc Zone organisation UEMOA. The country has also fostered strong ties with countries in North Africa (Morocco, Libya) and neighbours such as Senegal. There is considerable concern in the country at the slow resolution of the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, as many thousands of Malians or people of Malian origin live and work there.

Mali enjoys strong relations with France (where there is a large Malian community) and ...

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Overview: Mali’s transportation and communications infrastructure is regarded as poor, even by regional standards, and deficiencies have limited economic growth and development. Nevertheless, improvements have been noted in the early 2000s. A number of road and airport projects were initiated prior to Mali’s hosting of the African Nations Cup football tournament in 2002.


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