Press releases - West Africa - Mali - Immigration
Mali Remains a Country of Emigration and Transit, IOM Migration Profile Confirms
A migration profile of Mali released today finds that this landlocked West African country remains essentially a country of emigration, although increasing numbers of irregular migrants appear to transit through Mali on their way to Europe via the Maghreb countries.

IOM Press Briefing Notes

According to the report, demographic growth, poverty, increased unemployment and difficult climatic conditions continue to push many Malians to migrate internally from rural to urban areas, within the West African region and beyond.

Based on the 2000 Census Round Data, the report estimates the number of Malian abroad to be in excess of 1,5 million, with a 32 per cent living and working in Côte d’Ivoire, 28 per cent in Burkina Faso, 10 per cent in Guinea, 6 per cent in Nigeria and 5 per cent in Ghana.

The remainder are thought to be employed in OECD countries, primarily in industry, construction; agriculture and fishing. Most of them have a low level of education.

However, the report notes that Mali is confronted with a certain brain drain, since 15 per cent of Malian university graduates emigrated during the 1995-2005 period. In the health sector, 23 per cent of Malian doctors and 15 per cent of nurses found employment in 9 developed countries, with France remaining the favoured destination.

Despite the country’s political commitment in favour of regional integration, the report notes that immigration to Mali remains very limited with an estimated 164,000 migrants representing just 1,4 per cent of the total population in 2005. Immigration to Mali is mostly regional, with migrants coming from Burkina Faso (23 %), Ghana (13 %), Guinea (10 %), Benin (9 %) and Niger (8 %).

Although data on transit migration remains scarce, the report states that Mali seems to have become an important point of passage, with routes linking countries in Central and West Africa to the Maghreb and Libya.

As for remittances, they reached 212 million USD in 2007, representing 3, 3 per cent of the country’s GDP. Although remittances are mostly used to improve the living conditions of families left behind, the emergence of structured migrants’ associations has increased the share of funds used for social and productive investments.

In the Western region of Kayes, the report notes that migrants’ associations in France have funded over the past decade more than 220 community projects in dozens of villages.

The IOM profile, which is funded by the European Union, the Belgian Development Cooperation and the Swiss Federal Office for Migration, says that the Government of Mali has achieved some success in drawing on the expertise of its diaspora by encouraging the return of qualified migrants through programmes such as the UNDP implemented Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) programme.

It notes efforts deployed to incorporate migration into the National Strategic Framework on Development such as the priority solidarity fund for co-development programme established with France to support the activities of associations, facilitate the mobilization of remittances and strengthen ties between emigrant youths and their country of origin.

The report underlines the scarcity of reliable data on migration as the last general population census in Mali and the only specialized survey on migration were undertaken more than ten years ago, and cannot therefore reflect the current trends.

Furthermore, national structures dealing with migration do not have the capacity to properly manage and analyse data. To improve data on migration, there is a need to develop and establish a coherent data management system, involving all relevant partners and in keeping with the guiding principles of the country’s national plan for statistics.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)



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