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Mali: Exporting Mangoes


The African Success story is a World Bank research study anchored in the Africa Region Chief Economist’s Office Unit. The project intends to document recent African success stories across a broad range of topics with a view to: (1) broaden dissemination and knowledge within the region of the remarkable transformation that is taking place in many African countries; (2) examine what has worked and why, including re-evaluating some widely accepted past successes, so as to deepen our understanding of the drivers of success in the region; and (3) draw practical lessons with a view to informing policies and interventions.

Its main goal is to promote regional learning and disseminate lessons learned with particular attention to transferability and adaptation. Read More

The project is anchored by the Africa Region’s Chief Economist’s Office and led by Punam Chuhan-Pole (Lead Economist, Task Team Leader). Africa Region staff provides inputs at various stages of the project, including in selecting case studies, developing case studies, and providing guidance to case study authors. The work is carried out under the guidance of Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist of the Africa Region with contributions from other institutes such as the AfDB, AERC and the IMF.

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Through a multi-modal transportation system, Mali overcame its infrastructural & supply chain challenges Download Full Story (PDF)


Mali is a landlocked country that is heavily economically dependent on agriculture but with limited transportation infrastructure and, until recent years, little market understanding and agricultural export competitiveness. Though the government identified mangoes as an option for diversifying Mali’s export base in the 1990s, it faced several significant inefficiencies: high costs of air freight, poor access to sea ports, and weak harvestincg and post-harvest techniques. These problems were further exacerbated by lack of finance, insufficient management capacities, an unfavorable investment climate, poor organization, and an inexistent land market.


In 1993, Mali began implementing a multi-modal (road, rail, and sea) transportation system to move mango exports to destination markets in Europe more efficiently Through a partnership with private operators and backed by donor financing, a cold-chain (refrigerated) system was developed, phytosanitary improvements were made, certification and traceability programs were implemented, and training in orchard management practices and post-harvest handling was offered to Malian agricultural workers. The overarching goal of the strategy, though, was to increase rural incomes.

Mango exports increased 1,042 percent between 1993 and 2008


Most importantly, Mali’s mango exports increased 1,042 percent between 1993 and 2008, from 1,050 to 11,995 metric tons . Sea freighted exports, which were zero in 1993, rose to 4,600 metric tons. Transit time for mangoes from Sikasso to Northern Europe, meanwhile, decreased from 25 days to 12 days over the same period, and Mali has become an increasingly-recognized origin of fruit imports to the European Union. The approach also brought producers a significantly higher price for mangoes at the farmgate level—125 CFAF in 2008, up from 50 CFAF in 1993.


Mali’s experience underlines the importance of bringing together a combination of ingredients—public-private investment, technical expertise, national capacities, and innovation—that are likely to drive positive economic change. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of sustained development over time and highlights the importance of leveraging established bilateral relationships (in Mali’s case, with France and Côte d’Ivoire) in supporting value-chain improvements and export growth.

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