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September 21, 2012

Mali

The crises in and around Mali are shaped by an intersection of trends: food insecurity and desertification linked to climate change; an incomplete transition to democracy and a growing population of young people with poor employment prospects. With its government debilitated by a coup, the Malian political system is unable to maintain its reach into the north where militant, foreign-sponsored radical Islamist are in control. In addition, the region is in the grip of a major food crisis. Mali matters for two reasons. First, the country is not the isolated place of myth that the Timbuktu legend implies. Its political crisis is a threat to stability in the region. Second, instability combined with the food crisis have together had acute humanitarian consequences. Aid agencies are struggling to meet basic needs. Mali's industries of gold and cotton are doing comparatively well, mainly because they're located in the south where things are relatively calm. Mali needs to fund its transition back to civilian rule through elections and retake the northern desert. Stability in Mali, as the third biggest producer in Africa, is important for the global gold market; the gold miners operating in the country; and to a lesser extent, the cotton market. -- Paula Nelson ( 37 photos total)

People walk past the Grand Mosque of Djenne, a UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, in Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. Nearly 10,000 annual tourists visited Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, in previous years. Since Mali's coup d'etat in late March, after which Islamist rebels took control of the country's northern two-thirds, less than 20 tourists have come to Djenne, according to the local tourism board. (Joe Penney/Reuters)

A man in traditional dress walks past a woman cooking on market day in Djenne, Sept. 2, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters) #

Signs for hotels and tourist attractions line the road in Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. Nearly 10,000 annual tourists visited Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, in previous years. Since Mali's coup d'etat in late March less than 20 tourists have come to Djenne, according to the local tourism board. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A traditional Moorish-style window is seen at an Islamic institute in Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters) #

An Islamic teacher instructs students in Quranic verses in Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Aboubakar Yaro, head of conservation at the Djenne Library of Manuscipts, holds an Islamic manuscript from the 15th century in Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A woman walks by the Grand Mosque of Djenne, on market day in Djenne, Sept. 2, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A butcher chops meat at the central market of Djenne, Sept. 1, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Cotton farmer Karim Traore, 29, surveys his cotton field outside Koutiala, Aug. 30, 2012. Nearly 10,000 annual tourists visited Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, in previous years. Since Mali's coup d'etat in late March less than 20 tourists have come to Djenne, according to the local tourism board. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Workers shovel cotton seeds onto a conveyor belt in the ground at the Malian Animal Feed Company factory in Koutiala, Aug. 31, 2012.(Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A worker fabricates a plastic bag designed to hold cotton at the Badenya Company factory in Koutiala, Aug. 31, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Workers push barrels of vegetable oil, produced with cotton seeds, toward a truck at the Malian Animal Feed Company factory in Koutiala, Aug. 31, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

An employee of Canadian miner Iamgold watches a football game after work in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A gold miner drives home on his motorcycle after work in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

An artisanal gold miner peers into a small-scale mine where his colleague is working in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

An artisanal gold miner takes a rest at a small-scale gold mine in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Artisanal gold miner, Hawa Siloung, and her daughter, Sayo, watch a colleague pan for gold in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Small-scale gold miner Modibo "Fama" Kone, 57, stands in an area where he is panning for gold in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

An artisanal gold miner tosses a bucket of mudwater to clear the way for work on a small-scale gold mine in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. Mali is the third biggest producer of gold in Africa. (Joe Penney/Reuters) #

Niana and Dramane Diabate, children of gold miners, filter water for household use in front of gold miners' residences in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Small-scale gold miner Bangale Sidibe, 29, poses for a picture with his pickaxe before heading to work in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Small-scale gold miners gather in the morning before heading to work in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Amadou Dabo, a 46-year-old gold buyer, weighs gold he will buy from an artisanal miner in Kalana, Aug. 25, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Small-scale gold trader Amadou Dabo, 46, displays his tools used to weigh and purchase gold, including roughly seven grams of gold he bought off of small-scale miners for about $30 in Kalana, Aug. 25, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Gold miners' residences in Kalana August 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Traditional mud-brick walls are seen during sunset in Djenne, Sept. 2, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

Awa Baba Dji, 20, poses for a picture at the cafe she manages, located across the road from a joint Randgold-Iamgold mine in Kalana, Aug. 26, 2012. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A night club that was closed by Mali Islamic militant group MUJWA, after they took over the northeastern Malian city of Gao, Sept. 6, 2012. MUJWA, which is allied to other al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups, has said it intends to impose sharia throughout Mali. It had already carried out corporal punishments in territory under its control, including public floggings of suspected adulterers. (Joe Penney/Reuters)#

A man stands near the Tomb of Askia, which was built in 1485 for the burial of Toure, the ancient king of the Songhai Empire, in the northeastern Malian city of Gao, Sept. 6, 2012. Islamists of the Ansar Dine rebel group, which in April seized Mali's north, have threatened to destroy the tomb of Askia along with Tuareg separatists who have destroyed at least eight Timbuktu mausoleums and several tombs, centuries-old shrines. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

A child is weighed at a hospital in Gao in northeastern Mali, after being admitted for malnutrition, Sept. 8, 2012. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

Refugees from the Malian town of Hombori, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose for a picture at their private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako, Sept. 8, 2012. After a coup earlier this year rebels took over the entirety over northern Mali. The U.N. refugee agency says over 450,000 people have since fled their homes. (Simon Akam/Reuters)#

Refugees from the Malian town of Gao, which is now under the control of Islamist forces, pose at a private accommodation in the West African country's capital Bamako, Sept. 8, 2012. After a coup earlier this year rebels took over the entirety over northern Mali. The U.N. refugee agency says over 450,000 people have since fled their homes. Picture taken September 8, 2012. (Simon Akam/Reuters)#

Malians who fled the unrest in the northeastern city of Gao wait at a bus station in Bamako to return to Goa, Sept. 3, 2012. Mali has been mired in chaos since March when soldiers toppled the president, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels from the north to seize nearly two thirds of the country. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

Veiled female students attend a lesson at a classroom in the northeastern Malian city of Gao, Sept. 5, 2012. Mali Islamic militant group the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), who exert control over Gao, have allowed classes for female students to resume but order that women wear veils and be separated from male students. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

Veiled female students attend a lesson at a classroom in the northeastern Malian city of Gao, Sept. 5, 2012. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

A veiled woman cleans a blackboard at a classroom in the northeastern Malian city of Gao, Sept. 5, 2012. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#

Veiled female students attend a lesson in the northeastern Malian city of Gao, September 5, 2012. Mali Islamic militant group the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), who exert control over Gao, have allowed classes for female students to resume but order that women wear veils and be separated from male students. (Adama Diarra/Reuters)#



 
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