The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Mali:
- Water Crisis
Mali has an inadequate water supply; only 74% of city dwellers and 61% of people living in rural areas have access to pure water. The country has 60 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 97% is used for farming and 1% is used for industrial purposes.
- Food Crisis
Despite being one of the most successful trading empires in Africa during the Middle Ages, Mali is today, one of the continent’s poorest nations. Hunger in Mali is a serious issue, with approximately one-third of the nation’s land being arable and many of the nation’s 18 million people struggling to put food on the table. Food security and hunger in Mali has also worsened as a result of conflict in the northern part of the country. According to the WFP, northern regions of the nation, such as Goa, Timbuktu and Kidal, are all facing extreme food shortages. Furthermore, nearly 500,000 people have not only been displaced and unable to seek food for themselves, but sending emergency food assistance to those remaining in the conflict zones has become significantly more difficult.
Malaria is one of the principal causes of mortality and morbidity in Mali. With a population of approximately 11 million, Mali has over 800,000 reported cases of malaria annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Malaria accounts for 13% of all mortality in Mali for children under the age of 5.
Sikasso is one of the regions in Mali most affected by malnutrition; 30.2 percent of children under the age of 5 in the region are stunted. In Mali, over 29 percent of the population is malnourished.
According to UNICEF, over 850,000 children under age 5 are at risk of malnutrition across Mali; 1 in 28 newborns die in their first month, and over 2 million children are out of school.
As the 12th poorest country in Africa, Mali has remained poverty-stricken for many years. Malnutrition issues, lack of education and conflict are the main causes of poverty in Mali. The average wage in Mali is $1.25 per day, and more than half of the population currently lives below the international poverty line. This contributes to Mali being one of the least developed countries in the world. The average life expectancy of adults in Mali is 55, due to malnutrition and the lack of access to clean water. Poor education facilities across the country have led to poverty across Mali and as poverty heightens, the level of education deteriorates further. School enrollment is currently at 67 percent and across the country, the adult literacy rate is 38.7 percent.