Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA) Report

The Mali Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA) report outlines the key aspects of Mali’s digital ecosystem and provides 11 recommendations for creating a more inclusive, safe, and enabling environment.

In 2015, the Ministère de la Communication et de l’Economie Numérique (MCEN) was the lead architect of Mali Numerique 2020, the country’s digital agenda. The agenda laid out six objectives designed to leverage information and communications technology (ICT) to further the country’s economic and social goals by 2020. In Mali, digitalization has been hamstrung by external events shaping the country’s political and security environment for more than a decade. On May 13, 2022, the Transitional Government of Mali (TGOM) withdrew from the G5 Sahel, a security alliance with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger, which was formed in 2014. However, Mali has still made strides in developing its digital ecosystem. Mobile network operators (MNOs) have deployed broadband in major cities. The government has laid fiber optic cables connecting Mali with several of its contiguous neighbors and major cities. A vibrant civil society and an active media environment fight disinformation, and digital health and education stakeholders continue to experiment with new tools

The Mali DECA took place between May 2022 and October 2022. It included desk research, consultations with USAID/Mali, and nine weeks of virtual interviews. It involved a total of 63 interviews with stakeholders from civil society, academia, the private and public sectors, international development organizations, and USAID/ Mali technical offices.

The USAID/Mali Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) 2022-2026 includes two Development Objectives and one Special Objective:

  1. Improved governance for stronger democratic institutions
  2. Solidified and deepened development gains in targeted areas
  3. Improved outcomes across the humanitarian, development, and peace nexus to save lives and increase resiliency

Pillar 1: Digital Infrastructure and Adoption

  • Public authorities and the private sector have shown clear enthusiasm for expanding connectivity, but instability, and violence hinder investment.
  • While the cost of mobile data has fallen, consumers continue to pay high tariffs to MNOs. The regulator continues to pressure prices to come down.
  • COVID-19 catalyzed investments in e-learning platforms and pathways.
  • Major investments in digital health continue to be piloted in the sector, but coordination between actors and capitalizing on linkages between platforms remain key concerns.

Pillar 2: Digital Society, Rights, and Governance

  • Numerous Malian civil society organizations (CSOs) and online media play a central role in fighting the proliferation of disinformation, which is spread by an uninformed and polarized audience and exploited by insurgent groups.
  • Digital platforms have grown in importance as channels for free expression and political opinion, despite the potential risk of repression by public authorities.
  • Mali’s cybersecurity capacity remains at an early stage. Cyber threats are on the rise and threaten public institutions. CSOs and the general population are in urgent need of basic digital hygiene awareness and practices.
  • Digital government development is still suffering from deficits in its institutional governance and an absence of technical foundational blocks, as well as important gaps in the legal digital framework.

Pillar 3: Digital Economy

  • Mali Numérique 2020 was the strategic action plan for the digital economy from 2015 to 2020. The government commissioned an evaluation study and acknowledged that the implementation of Mali Numérique 2020 was not successful. A new strategy for 2023 to 2027 is under development. Overall, the policy framework for the sector is fragmented, with several bills and initiatives that have been pending for years.
  • Digital financial services are expanding in Mali, but uptake is relatively low compared to its neighbors in the region. Cash is the biggest competitor, with low digital financial literacy and a lack of consumer trust as significant barriers to digital finance. MNOs have been accused of anti-competitive practices by new e-money competitors.
  • E-commerce is underdeveloped and informal. Most activity occurs on social media, where merchants advertise and connect with customers, and then the transactions are completed offline. Formal platforms report “cash on delivery” as the norm for both suppliers and customers.
  • The tech startup scene is small and lacks competition. Most startups operate informally, and interviewees attributed this to unfavorable tax conditions, high operational costs, and the lack of a cohesive policy framework for startups. Passing the Startup Act that has been pending since 2019 will be key.
  • There is an inadequate talent pool and a lack of practical expertise. Locally-trained ICT professionals from vocational training institutes and universities are generally not industry-ready, leaving some companies to outsource talent from the Malian diaspora to work in Mali.

mAccess Indicators & Rankings

The information below is part of the mAccess Diagnostic Tool and is intended to help assess foundational components of Mali’s digital ecosystem using indicators on internet availability, affordability, access, and use. Click here to explore the full tool.

Country Snapshot – Mali

  • 2G Coverage:


  • 3G Coverage:


  • Cost per SMS in USD for 10,000 bulk SMS:


  • EIU Rank:


  • ITU IDI Rank:


  • Number of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs):


  • Living 2G Coverage ( in million ):


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  • No of MBBC:


  • Not using Mobile Internet 2G Coverage:


  • Number of active mobile money agents:


  • Number of active mobile money users:


  • Smartphones 3G Coverage:


  • WEF Rank:


Access – Mali

  • Land-lines per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile broadband connections per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile internet users per 100 inhabitants:


  • Active SIM cards per 100 inhabitants:


Affordability – Mali

  • Mobile prepaid 1GB basket:


  • Moblie Prepaid 1GB basket – largest operator:


  • Mobile prepaid voice basket – largest operator:


  • Effective price:


  • GB per GDPC:


  • Mobile prepaid voice basket:


Competition – Mali

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Infrastructure – Mali

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Usage – Mali

  • Average revenue per user (Blended ARPU):


  • Facebook users per 100 inhabitants:


  • Mobile Data traffic per active SIM:


  • M2M connections per 100 inhabitants:


  • Minutes of Use per active SIM:


Digital Ecosystem Evidence Map

The information below is part of the Digital Ecosystem Evidence Map (DEEM) and displays up-to-date resources on digital development interventions and the digital ecosystem for Mali. Click here to explore the full tool.

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