A landlocked Sahelian country, Mali is one of the least developed and most food insecure countries in the world. It is currently ranked 182 on the UN Human Development Index—6th lowest in the world.

According to a March 2014 analysis, more than 1.5 million people are currently in food insecurity in Mali. With the approach of the lean season, this number is expected to increase to 1.9 million people—11% of the country’s population.

The nutrition situation is worrying: in the south of the country, nearly 4 in 10 children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, while 1 in 4 is underweight.

Even at the best of times, food security is fragile in Mali. Vulnerable households often rely on farming to feed their families—a precarious situation when harvests are at the mercy of recurrent drought, floods and locusts.

To further intensify an already difficult situation, Mali is prone to complex, slow-onset emergencies—both natural and man-made. Since 2010, Mali has faced successive food security crises, brought on by irregular rainfall and prolonged insecurity in the north. The 2012 coup-d’état left a political vacuum which enabled armed groups to invade.

In July 2013, a UN peacekeeping force arrived in Mali to support the political process and help to stabilize the country. Through a transparent electoral process, Mali was able to elect a new government, which took power in mid-2013. The new government faces considerable challenges ahead, including dealing with ongoing conflict in the north-east.

While Mali may have dropped out of international headlines, the situation in the north remains unpredictable and volatile, putting WFP staff and our UNHAS operation at risk.

Despite continuing instability, families who fled their homes at the height of the crisis are beginning to return in large numbers, placing a huge strain on Malian communities, who must share already spare resources. 

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Country at a glance 2014
Planned Beneficiaries0
Beneficiary needs (mt)170,073
Beneficiary needs ($US)275,947,794