Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, located southwest of Algeria. It lies between latitudes 10° and 25°N, and longitudes 13°W and 5°E.
Mali is bordered by Algeria to the northeast, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire to the south, Guinea to the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania to the west.
At 1,242,248 square kilometres, including the disputed region of Azawad, Mali is the world’s 24th-largest country and is comparable in size to South Africa or Angola.
Most of the country lies in the southern Sahara Desert, which produces an extremely hot, dust-laden Sudanian savanna zone. Mali is mostly flat, rising to rolling northern plains covered by sand. The Adrar des Ifoghas massif lies in the northeast.
Mali lies in the desert zone and is among the hottest countries in the world. The thermal equator, which matches the hottest spots year-round on the planet based on the mean daily annual temperature, crosses the country.
Most of Mali receives negligible rainfall and droughts are very frequent. Late June to early December is the rainy season in the southernmost area. During this time, flooding of the Niger River is common, creating the Inner Niger Delta.
The vast northern desert part of Mali has a hot desert climate Koppen climate classification with long, extremely hot summers and scarce rainfall which decreases northwards.
The central area has a hot semi-arid climate Koppen climate classification with very high temperatures year-round, a long, intense dry season and a brief, irregular rainy season. The little southern band possesses a tropical wet and dry climate Koppen climate classification very high temperatures year-round with a dry season and a rainy season.
Mali has considerable natural resources, with gold, uranium, phosphates, kaolinite, salt and limestone being most widely exploited. Mali is estimated to have in excess of 17,400 tonnes of uranium (measured + indicated + inferred).
In 2012, a further uranium mineralized north zone was identified. Mali faces numerous environmental challenges, including desertification, deforestation, soil erosion, and inadequate supplies of potable water.