The Democratic Federal Republic of Mali is a major nation in West Africa, bordered by French Algeria, French West Africa, Nigeria, Cyrene, Nubia, Egypt, and Camenbal. The nation, the largest in land size in Africa, was a total monarchy until 1923 and a constitutional monarchy until 1954. The capital of Mali is Timbuktu, and its largest city is Bamako. Mali is regarded as northern Africa's primary sovereign power and is a major player in regional politics. The country is one of the four founding members of the Union of African States. Mali's main language is French, although a variety of native tongues are used as well. It has a population of about 85,000,000.
Malian Empire and Relationship with England
Constitution, Oppression and Expansion
Malian Revolution and Influence of Socialism
Kamal Bato Regime and Cold War Role
The military coup of 1966 ended the influence of the American-backed socialist government and installed General Kamal Bato as the leader in Timbuktu. Bato was an old-fashioned, right wing leader with ties to the deposed monarchy and who was an old stalwart and friend of the French regime. Francois Ramon, only a week before his assassination in Bonn, was in Mali to congratulate Bato and extend overtures to bring Mali back into the French fold.
Bato was a brutal, reactionary leader in his suppression of his enemies, but he followed the Sebastienite model of France in that he governed without preference for any single Malian ethnic group or religious sect.
Debi Amor and Modernization
While Bato was often referred to as the "Sebastien" of Mali, his civilian successor, Debi Amor, is often referred to as Mali's "Albert II." Amor was, unlike Bato, a Muslim who chose to govern the country with a much less secular policy than his predecessor, but also recognized the ingenuity of his successor in avoiding racial or religious conflict during his reign. With the turbulent mid-1970's a distant memory by the time Amor came to power in 1982, the new goal for Mali was to emerge as Africa's preeminent power.
Unphased by the competition of the more economically sound Zululand or Ethiopia, Amor began an ambitious modernization program in 1983 called the "Great Push," which would drive Mali into the upper echelons of West African prominence. Using a somewhat planned economic model, Amor ordered the construction of power plants, factories, and new free-trade sectors in certain cities across the country, gambling on the hopes of foreign investment. In 1987, he started a revolutionary remodeling of Bamako, seeking to make the city the economic hub of the region, putting it in direct competition with Dakar in French West Africa. While his efforts were much less appreciated than the docility of Bato, European companies, even from beyond the CIC. England became one of the biggest investors in Malian growth during this period, and in 1992 English Prime Minister John Cleese visited Timbuktu as the first non-French European leader to ever make a visit.
East Prussian motor company Audi opened its massive Afrikaverkstad in Niamey in 1990, a self-sustained city-factory on the outskirts of the city that saw a profit growth of 350% within three years and doubled in size with a revamping in 1995, and low-cost Audi vehicles produced in Niamey soon burgeoned the domestic automotive industry in Mali, allowing for 78% of all cars in the country to be built locally, of which 96% of those cars were Audis. By 2006, estimates agreed that Audi had a complete monopoly on the automotive industry in Mali and neighboring French West Africa, with 87% of the vehicles in both states Audi built and more than seventy-five percent of them built in Africa.
Amor's efforts at localized production for Mali from foreign companies also led to a late-1990's computer boom, in which Visalux, a French computer company, opened a factory in Bamako that produced 64% of the country's computers, although the Malian computer technology remained about five to ten years behind that of most industrialized countries. Amor's late 1990's initiative to combat pollution in the Niger River was a rousing success, and in 2001 he opened two nuclear power stations, much to the chagrin of the United States.
Amor finally lost control over his own government due to local anger over his support of Muslim militias in Nigeria that were combating the United States - the known Malian support for these combatants resulted in a NATO embargo against Mali that included forbidding NATO-aligned trade vessels from journeying up the Niger. This resulted in Mali's first recession since the late 1970's, after fifteen years of unfettered growth, and Amor resigned in 2003 in favor of Fedkwe Muguwa. In 2006, Amor died in a plane crash in French West Africa under mysterious circumstances.
Mali's growth rate has slowed from its late 1980's-early 1990's heyday, when it was one of the great investment and economic success stories in history. Foreign investment has slowed somewhat, especially with the light shed on human rights abuses during the 1990's. Muguwa resigned in 2008 due to a corruption scandal involving Arab real estate developers, and Mali's current President is Kamal Jeknene.