Mali trade in ancient times:
Economy of Mali banked mainly on trans Saharan trade during the ancient period. Niani, which was the capital of the Empire of Mali, had people thriving on milk, pounded millet and honey.
The main place for trading commodities were the markets in the villages. Mali trade products from the Salhelian grasslands included sheepskin, goatskin, books, cloth, iron, copper, salt, pearls, ivory, gold, rubber, leather, hides and slaves. Savannah region produced food crops and cash crops.
Mali suffered a trade deficit till the 1970s. However, Mali trade has sluggishly developed over time. Trade deficit in the year 1985 was 85% of merchandise export.
Mali Trade and the World Trade Organization:
The World Trade Organization, is rendering TRTA or trade related technical assistance to Mali in different spheres pertaining to trade in Mali. Mali also receives assistance from JITAP or Joint Integrated Technical Assistance.
Trends manifested in Mali Trade:
Mali manifested trade surplus in the year 1997. However, the trade balance again declined in the year 1998. The sluggish nature or the backslide can be attributed to investments in the export segment being low. Mali depends on capital goods as well as machinery import. Italy, China, Thailand, Brazil comprised of the countries where goods from Mali were exported in 1997. In the same year goods were imported from France and Cote d Ivoire.
Mali exports rum, chemicals, salt, mineral products, vegetables, fruits. Chemicals, fuels, food, machinery, live animals, transport related equipments etc., are imported by Mali. In olden days, gold was also exported by Mali.