Country Summary

Macroeconomic performance

The economy’s strong growth continues, with real GDP growth an estimated 5.0% in 2018, down slightly from 5.3% in 2017, driven mainly by agriculture (cotton in particular) and services (financial activities and trade). On the demand side, household consumption is the primary driver. The budget deficit was reduced from 2.9% of GDP in 2017 to an estimated 2.5% in 2018. Public debt stood at 35.9% of GDP in 2018, up narrowly from 35.6% in 2017, but external debt declined slightly to 24.1% of GDP. Mali continues to face a moderate risk of debt distress. Inflation slowed to an estimated 1.7% in 2018 thanks to lower prices of foodstuffs and imported oil products. In the external sector, the current account deficit rose slightly from 6.0% in 2017 to an estimated 6.5% in 2018, with import growth (9.3%) outpacing export growth (7.2%).

Tailwinds and headwinds

Real GDP growth is projected to slow in 2019 to 4.7% and remain there in 2020. Inflation is projected to be 1.7% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020. The budget deficit is projected to shrink gradually from 2.4% of GDP in 2019 to 1.5% in 2020 thanks to consolidation. The current account deficit is projected to remain above 6% through 2020.

Mali has begun to mobilize more revenue and increase the efficiency and quality of public spending, aiming to create the fiscal space required for public investment. It is streamlining tax exemptions, improving the efficiency of the mining tax regime, and strengthening the administration and efficiency of value added tax recovery. The government has also set up a consultation framework to facilitate the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

Authorities began to implement a law against illicit enrichment, in particular by requiring senior civil servants to declare their assets. In the energy sector, reforms have sought to strengthen the finances of the public company, Électricité du Mali, to mitigate associated budgetary risks and to free resources for investment and spending in other areas.

Mali has ratified all agreements relating to the free movement of persons and labor within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. No measure limits the movement of persons or the right of establishment in self-employment, and ECOWAS nationals need no residence permit and can settle freely in Mali to work or to exercise a liberal profession. However, in practice these rights are hindered by unofficial obstacles at the border, where multiple checkpoints of various kinds create high transaction costs.

The economic outlook could be compromised by several factors, in particular security conditions related to delays in implementing the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and exogenous shocks such as climate variability, the volatility of gold and cotton prices, and fluctuations in the euro/dollar exchange rate. The recapitalization of some commercial banks has contributed to banking sector stability, but the high ratio of nonperforming loans (16.5% in 2018) could threaten private sector financing.

Source: African Economic Outlook 2019

Fixed Income

Issuance strategy 

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) comprises eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Bond issuance strategies vary from one state to another but most use the MTDS tool to develop their issuance strategy. Generally, most programs are focused on short-term tenor and characterized by securities with repayments by amortization and deferred coupon. Recently, with the advent of the AUT, the zone has progressed towards lengthening and standardizing securities. 

Benchmark issues 

For the moment, there is no benchmark maturity in the WAEMU. The region is in the assessment phase of developing a yield curve. WAEMU countries understand that issuance policies need to evolve towards considering the need for a yield curve. 

Yield curve 

Yield curve calculation models 

There is no benchmark yields curve in the WAEMU Zone. 

Interpolation methods 

As there is no yield curve in the WAEMU, no method for interpolation is in use. 

Yield curve managed by

Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for the yield curve. 

Display platform 

There is no yield curve in the WAEMU. 

Challenges in building an efficient yield curve 

  • Market fragmentation: fragmented securities market and non-standardized securities. 
  • Price discovery issue
  • Narrow investor base: comprising homogeneous investors such as banks. 
  • Limited and illiquid secondary market: nonexistent secondary market where the securities are acquired for "buy and hold”. 
  • Coexistence of two agencies for issuing bonds and bills: The “Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers” (CREMPF) is in charge of monitoring the syndication. The Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for auctions.

Guide to Buying Bonds

Procedures for market participation

The frequency of auctions is determined by the states, together with the Central Bank. Each state cannot hold T-Bills and Government bonds auction more than once a week. For Treasury Bills, a calendar program specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is published quarterly by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank, and in consideration mainly the foreseeable revenue and government spending. Whereas Treasury bonds, an indicative issuance calendar specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is set annually by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank.

Each issuance should be advertised at least 7 days before the auction by describing the issuance characteristics. 

Bidders submit to the Central Bank, sealed in a ballot box reserved for this purpose, a submission form specifying the amounts and the interest rates or the price offered. Submissions may also be made electronically in the conditions defined by the Central Bank.

Later than one hour after the deadline for bids submission, the National Directions of the BCEAO transmit electronically, by fax or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the Central Bank, the main submissions to the principal agency of the BCEAO, which is organizing the auction.

Treasury bills are eligible for refinancing by the Central Bank. Investors and the Central Bank may buy or sell Treasury bonds on the secondary market, awarded by private treaty. In this context, they are required to post the purchase price and sale which they are willing to transact.

Treasury bonds can be traded on the secondary market. As such, they can be exchanged at the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM) or outside the BRVM.

Settlement cycle

The settlement date is T+1 for domestic operations and T+3 for operations between Members of the Union. This period can be modified by BCEAO. However, the contracting parties are free to agree on a minimum term above to unwind their operations. If the instructions given by the two parties are identical, the operation is definitely offset the value date agreed. In case of discrepancy between the evidences, the Central Bank suspends the transaction and notifies this decision to both parties for correction. Central Bank ensures the existence of adequate provisions before executing the compensation requested. Transmission to the Central Bank of notifications occurs in the selection of speakers, fax, telex, ordinary mail or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the BCEAO.


Treasury bills and Treasury bonds incomes are tax-free throughout the territory of the Member States of the WAEMU.But for non-members, the tax rates are different from one country to another. In Mali, the tax rate one securities income is equal to maximum 6%.


Rating Agency Current rating Outlook
Moody’s No rating No outlook
Fitch No rating No outlook
Standard and Poor’s No rating No outlook

Primary Dealers

There is no appropriate Primary Dealers System in the WAEMU zone.

Subscription of Treasury bills is reserved to banks, financial institutions as well as regional financial institutions with an ordinary current account in the books of the Central Bank. Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin can also purchase Treasury bills in the primary market through banks located in the territory of the Union.

The primary subscription of Treasury bonds is restricted to banks, financial institutions, regional organizations and financial management company and intermediation (IMS). Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin may also purchase Treasury bonds on the primary market through banks and brokerage firms (SGI) located on the territory of the Union.

Market restrictions

Openness to international investors

The members of the zone are actively encouraging foreign investment. Foreign companies are free to invest and list on the regional stock exchange (BRVM), which is based in Abidjan and is dominated by Ivorian and Senegalese firms. 

Capital controls

There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there generally differences in treatment of foreign and national investors, either in terms of the level of foreign ownership or sector of investment.

Restriction on FX and profit repatriation

WAEMU has unified foreign exchange regulations. Under these regulations, there are no restrictions for transfers within the community, and designated commercial banks are able to approve routine foreign exchange transactions inside the community. The transfer abroad of the proceeds of liquidation of foreign direct investments no longer requires prior governments approval.

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