The annual population growth rate is three per cent – 48 per cent of Malians are below the age of fifteen. The education system is in a bad state. The school enrolment rate at primary level is just over 50 per cent and only about 50 per cent of the children enrolled finish primary school. Two-thirds of the population is illiterate.
About 60 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, earning a living from farming and livestock breeding. However, population growth and rural exodus are fuelling a rapid increase in urbanisation. The government is faced with the difficult task of creating employment opportunities for a fast-growing young population and ensuring access to basic services for all its people.