Transport in Mali

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Mali's transportation 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.[1]



Mali has only one railroad, including 729 kilometers in Mali, which runs from the port of Koulikoro via Bamako to the border with Senegal and continues on to Dakar. The Bamako-Dakar line, which has been described as dilapidated, is owned by a joint company established by Mali and Senegal in 1995, with the eventual goal of privatization. In 2003 the two countries sold a 25-year concession to run the rail line to a Canadian company, which has pledged to upgrade equipment and infrastructure. The Malian portion of the railroad carried an estimated 536,000 tons of freight and 778,000 passengers in 1999, but the track is in poor condition and the line is closed frequently during the rainy season. The line is potentially significant because it links landlocked Mali to the port of Dakar, increasingly of interest for Malian exports in the face of the disruption of access to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as a result of civil conflict in that country beginning in late 2002. In the early 2000s, there also were plans to construct a new rail line between Bamako and Kouroussa and Kankan in Guinea.[1]


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