Definition of Youth

There is no fixed definition of youth. The 2003 Youth – Employment Programme targets people between 15-40 years of age.  The 2005 National Programme for the Promotion of Youth includes people from 10 to 35 years of age.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • XX

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
From 13 years old, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 13 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions Source:  Child Protection Code of Mali

Majority Age


  Source: Code of the Family and Person (2011)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 61.46% Male (15-24) %
  • 46.36% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 40.28%Male %
  • 28.42% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 23.10% Male (13-15) %
  • 8.80% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Mali has had a national youth employment programme since 2003, which has been extended.

Mali has no overarching youth policy, but rather focuses its efforts on youth unemployment. The youth vulnerability report (2009) suggests “the ultimate state document dealing with youth issues, and youth employment in particular, in Mali is the Youth Employment Programme (PEJ)".

According to the poverty report  (2013)

the job situation remains a matter of concern. Job growth has not kept pace with demographic growth. This raises serious questions about the efficiency of the economy and its ability to generate sustainable and decent jobs.

According to the government’s press statement, the government launched a framework document on the Promotion of Youth (2011 – 2015) in partnership with the World Bank. However, no copy is available online.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Youth and Citizenship Building – previously the Ministry of Youth and Sports - is in charge of youth affairs. However, there is no official website and the minister is rarely mentioned in the press. As reported in Malijet, the Agency for the Employment of Youth (APEJ) is responsible for implementing the Youth- Employment Programme II, and organises voluntary placement and trainings.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Mali (CNJ-Mali) is the government’s main interlocutor on matters of youth. As reported in The Republican for instance, in occasion of the new government in 2013, it successfully called for ministry of youth distinct from sports. The CNJ-Mali elects its president and holds a yearly congress. Candidates and members cannot be over 35 years of age. The president of CNJ-Mali also heads the Youth Coalition for Mali, which is a wider grouping of various youth organisations.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation on the budget for youth in Mali could be found online. According to the World Bank, Mali spent 19.47% of its government expenditure and 4.80% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

The 2009 report on youth vulnerability and exclusion highlights the nature of youth affairs in Mali:
Mali has been known for its persistent rhetoric regarding the centrality of youth and their issues in national political development efforts. This legacy and tradition naturally raise the profile of youth-related issues, particularly as they relate to unemployment and socio- economic and political challenges.
With regard to the historical role of youth in Mali’s political development, the report states:
It is difficult to determine whether this flurry of youth-focused institutional and programmatic activities were the result of the Touré’s realization that by their sheer number and because of the role they played in the overthrow of Moussa Traoré’s regime, youth are a political force to be reckoned with or a genuine political stance in favour of the socio-economic development youth. It is undeniable that Touré’s government did put in place a certain infrastructural and policy orientation for the benefit of youth. [...]
This is particularly true for young Malians from the north of the country, where socio-economic conditions and a rekindled rebellion intensify the level of frustration against the Malian state, which is accused of ignoring the plight of people from the north, particularly the youth.

The 2014 European Parliament 2014 European Parliament report on the Mali crisis and conflict, highlights the issues of unemployment:
Three clear employment trends are observable in Mali, weak job creation despite positive economic growth rates, the expansion of informality and the increase in unemployment, especially among youth. Despite healthy annual average economic growth rates, Mali’s unemployment rate has increased in the last decade and currently stands at 9.6 per cent [...]. According to Mali’s PRSP, 300,000 young persons approach the labour market each year and a large number of them seek employment in vain. This leads to increases in poverty, especially in urban areas, and may lead, over time, to stresses in society [...]
Informality is high, with nearly 87 per cent of the labour force working in the informal sector and on low incomes.