Regions of Mali

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Thanks to Fabien Antoine, I've found that Mali is getting two new regions. Governors of the new regions of Taoudéni and Ménaka were appointed on 2016-01-19. Source [6] says, "According to Law N°2012-017 of 2012-03-02, in the Republic of Mali there will be administrative circumscriptions created: the regions of Bandiagara, Bougouni, Dioïla, Douentza, Kita, Koutiala, Nara, Nioro du Sahel, and San, making 19 regions in all, with 11 new ones; 78 circles instead of 49, and 348 arrondissements compared to the present-day 285." (My translation)

It also says, "a reorganisation of Mali's territory into 19 regions had been put into a bill on 2011-12-14, which would create the circumscriptions, circles and arrondissements of the Regions of Timbuktu, Taoudéni, Gao, and Ménaka. This bill specifies that the regions of Taoudéni and Ménaka are respectively the 9th et 10th regions of Mali. Law N°2012-018 of 2012-02-15, creating the circles and arrondissements of the regions of Tombouctou, Taoudéni, Gao, Ménaka, and Kidal determined the extent of those subdivisions, as published in the official gazette, l’ESSOR, of 2012-03-09." This all leaves the effective date of the new regions in doubt.

Update 12 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-06-30. It changes the code for Bamako from MA01 to ML01. MA01 was clearly wrong because it doesn't start with the FIPS country code; I never reported it on this page.

FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2004-10-01. It assigns a FIPS code to the new region of Kidal, and changes the FIPS code of the old region (Gao) from which the new one was formed. Details are below under Primary subdivisions and Change history.

Country overview: 

Short nameMALI
ISO codeML
LanguageFrench (fr)
Time zone+0


In 1900, the French possessions in West Africa as a whole were called French Sudan. In 1904, the French administration created the gouvernement général of French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française, or A.O.F.; the name had already been in use for some time). A.O.F. initially comprised the French colonies of Ivory Coast, Dahomey, French Guinea, Senegal, and Upper Senegal and Niger. Upper Senegal and Niger contained most of the older territory of Senegambia and Niger. Its name was changed to French Sudan on 1920-12-04. French Sudan and Senegal formed the Federation of Mali on 1959-04-04. On 1960-06-20, the Federation of Mali became independent. It split up into its two original components, Sudan and Senegal, on 1960-08-22. One month later (1960-09-22), Sudan changed its name to the Republic of Mali.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Mali
  2. Dutch: Mali, Republiek Mali (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Mali (formal), French Sudan (obsolete), Upper Senegal and Niger (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Mali
  5. French: Mali, République f du Mali m (formal), Haut-Sénégal-Niger (obsolete), Soudan m Français (obsolete)
  6. German: Mali n
  7. Icelandic: Malí
  8. Italian: Mali m
  9. Norwegian: Mali, Republikken Mali (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Mali, República f do Mali m (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Мали (formal)
  12. Spanish: Mali, Malí (variant), República f de Mali (formal), Sudán Francés (obsolete)
  13. Swedish: Mali
  14. Turkish: Mali Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

named for an ancient Islamic empire in the same area

Primary subdivisions: 

Mali is divided into ten régions (regions) and one district.

11 divisions14,517,1761,248,574482,077
  • Region: except for Bamako, which is a district.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2009-04-14 census (provisional).
  • Area: Source [2].
  • Capitals have the same name as their divisions.


Regions are sometimes identified by number. The region number is the same as the ISO code. For example, "Région VII" or "Septième Région" means Gao.

Further subdivisions:

See the Circles of Mali page.

The regions are subdivided into cercles (circles), which are further subdivided into arrondissements.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Mali lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Bamako: from the capital, which is Mandingo for behind Bama (name of a tribal chief)
  2. Ségou: Mandingo for walled city
  3. Timbuktu: Tamashek ti-n-butu: the one in the hollow

Change history: 

  1. 1932-09-06: Part of Upper Volta annexed to French Sudan.
  2. 1947-09-04: Districts of Ouahigouya and Tougan restored to Upper Volta.
  3. 1954-01-01: Hodh district of French Sudan annexed to Mauritania.
  4. 1959-04-04: Before independence, French Sudan was divided into 19 districts, including Bamako, Koutiala, Mopti, San, Ségou, and Sikasso. Afterwards, it was reorganized into the districts of Bamako, Gao, Kayes, Mopti, Ségou, and Sikasso.
  5. ~1980: Timbuktu district split from Gao.
  6. ~1984: Bamako district split from Bamako region, which was renamed to Koulikoro.
  7. 1991: Kidal region split from Gao (formerly FIPS code ML02).
  8. 2016-01-19: Taoudéni (IX) region split from Timbuktu (former HASC code ML.TB) and Ménaka (X) region split from Gao (ML.GA). The new regions may also include parts of Kidal region.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Bamako: Capital District (variant)
  2. Koulikoro: Bamako (obsolete)
  3. Taoudéni: Taoudenni, Taoudénit, Taudeni (variant); Tawdenni (Berber)
  4. Timbuktu: Timbouctou, Tombouctou (French); Timbuctu (Italian); Timbuctu, Tombuktu (Portuguese); Tombuctú (Spanish)

Population history:

Region1976-12-161987-04-301998-04-17 [2]2009-04-14 [1]
Kidal  65,52467,638


  1. [1] Résultats Provisoires Nationales du RGPH 2009 , Institut National de la Statistique (retrieved 2009-12-02).
  2. [2] The Statesman's Yearbook, 2006 edition.
  3. [3] Almanaque Abril '85, Editora Abril, São Paulo, 1985.
  4. [4] Populations of circles from the 1998 census retrieved from "Telephone service forecast" at (dead link), 2001-09-11.
  5. [5] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
  6. [6] "Les nouvelles régions du Mali : Des gouverneurs dans deux déjà ! " (The new regions of Mali: Two have governors already!), Maliactu online news website (retrieved and dated 2016-01-22).
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