U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide an analysis of corruption and anti-corruption in Mali, with a particular focus on justice and the rule of law, mining sector, agriculture and forestry.


Corruption is a fundamental challenge in Mali. It permeates through Malian institutions, with evidence of high levels of corruption at every level of the state apparatus. In surveys, Malian citizens consistently report high levels of perceived corruption and low levels of trust in state institutions. As state legitimacy erodes, Malians have come to increasingly rely on a range of non-state actors and non-statutory institutions for governance and service provision, but these arrangements have proven insufficient to manage the disputes and conflicts that often turn violent. Years of military and humanitarian interventions aimed at restoring stability and state authority in Mali have also proven insufficient to end the violence. While not necessarily an active driver of Mali’s multidimensional crisis, corruption and criminalization of the state has enabled this outcome by feeding grievances and alienation among certain groups in Mali.


  1. Background
  2. Extent of corruption
  3. Nature of corruption challenges
  4. Corruption in key sectors
    • Justice and the rule of law
    • Mining
    • Agriculture and forestry
    • Security sector
  5. Anti-corruption framework
  6. References

Main points

  • The many dimensions of Mali’s current crisis are connected. Rule of law issues, conflicts over land tenure, organized crime and jihadist expansion are all interconnected issues rather than separate challenges that have hit the country separately. Corruption is at the heart of the problems of mistrust that allowed these issues to spiral out of control.
  • Addressing corruption and the justice gap in rural and peripheral areas is key to social and economic development, as well as building sustainable peace.
  • While Mali’s anti-corruption framework has some serious flaws, some key institutions have shown capable of effectively investigating corruption cases.
  • In recent years, Mali’s government has also introduced a number of reforms and new laws that, all else being equal, can potentially create more transparency and inclusive forms of governance.


Mathias Bak, [email protected]


Aled Williams (U4), [email protected]

Jorum Duri, Samuel Kaninda (TI) and Abdoulaye Sall (Cercle de Réflexion et d’Information pour la Consolidation de la Démocratie au Mali), [email protected]




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