Mali sees growth slipping to 5 pct range in 2015: finance minister

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s economic growth will slow this year after reaching 7.2 percent in 2014 due to increased cotton production, although it should still top 5 percent, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The West African nation, one of the region’s leading cotton producers, saw raw cotton output jump to 550,000 tonnes in 2014 from 440,000 the previous year after the government increased input subsidies and lowered the price of fertilizers.

“It’s this increase of more than 100,000 tonnes that resulted in more added value for the industrial (cotton processing) sector,” Mamadou Igor Diarra, minister of finance and the economy, told Reuters in an interview.

The government had initially targeted GDP growth of 5.8 percent for 2014. The economy expanded 5.1 percent in 2013.

Diarra said he expected growth to return to the 5 percent range this year, although he gave no explanation for the expected slowdown in growth.

“We are hoping to do, maybe a bit less this year, but still well over 5 percent,” he said.

Mali was plunged into chaos in 2012 when soldiers angered by the government’s handling of a Tuareg separatist uprising staged a coup in the capital Bamako. Amid the turmoil, al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups seized the country’s desert north, but were pushed back by a French-led military intervention a year later.

Mali is also Africa’s third-largest gold producer and exported 53.2 tonnes of the precious metal last year.

Leave a Comment