Mali is a landlocked northwestern African country with 80 percent of its population dependent on subsistence agriculture. The desert is encroaching, and the infrastructure is inadequate. Half the population has no access to safe water. Mali ranks 173 of 177 countries on the Human Development Index, with a life expectancy of 53.4 years, adult literacy of 24 percent, per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1,033 (the European Union average is over $34,000, and the United States is $49,500), and school enrollment at all levels of 36.3 percent. The literacy rate, the percentage aged 15 and older who can read and write, is 46.4 percent overall, but 39.6 percent for females.

Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly plagued by high child mortality rates due to poor prenatal care, ...

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