Religion: Muslim 87%, Evangelical 0.7%, 60% of people groups are unreached
Economy: Mali’s socio-economic quandary is sobering. It is one of the poorest nations on earth, with people making on average $1.50US/day. Cotton growing employs one-third of the population but is highly vulnerable to world market fluctuations and competing growers elsewhere. Functional literacy is low and secondary school enrolment is under 20%. About one-fifth of children will not survive to the age of five, and of those who do, one-third will be malnourished. Two-thirds of the land area is desert or semi-desert, and the threat of desertification is ever present.
Recent News: While most of the world is fixated on radical Islamic presence in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, Mali has kept a low profile. Muslim extremists didn’t rise up until March 2012 in a coup that led to their north takeover. The Taureg insurgents wanted to make their own country in the north. The Open Doors World Watch List tracks the top 50 countries that carry out persecution of Christians and restrict religious freedom. When the 2013 World Watch List was released January 8, the results for Mali were shocking. According to Open Doors, “Mali was not even on the World Watch List last year, and because of all the challenges there, [Mali] has suddenly jumped to 7th place out of 50 countries. It is a significant factor.”