Mali y la reforma del Islam

PARÍS – Mali es un país de África occidental, sin salida al mar, con una población de 15 millones de personas y una superficie de 1.240.000 kilómetros cuadrados (478.800 millas cuadradas), de la que tres cuartas partes son desierto. En el siglo XIV, el poderoso imperio de Mali incluía partes de lo que hoy es Senegal, Guinea y Níger. Vencido y dividido, en el siglo XIX se convirtió en colonia francesa y recuperó la independencia en 1960.

La población de Mali es variada: en el norte habitan nómadas del desierto (entre los que se destacan los tuaregs) y en el sur, una mayoría de poblaciones negras sedentarias. Aunque hay gran diversidad lingüística, el Islam (al que adhiere casi el 95% de la población) es un factor de cohesión. La principal actividad económica es la agricultura, especialmente en el amplio delta interno del río Níger, que es hogar de muchas tribus, entre ellas el pueblo dogón, notable por su escultura y su arquitectura.

Tras una larga dictadura militar, Mali se convirtió entre 1991 y 2012 en un ejemplo de triunfo de la democracia en África; pero después, un golpe de Estado desbarató las rudimentarias instituciones públicas. Los tuaregs del norte, que viajan entre el país y Mauritania, Argelia y Níger, fueron muy afectados por la persistente sequía y el colapso de la economía de caravanas. Muchos se volcaron al tráfico de armas, esclavos y oro, y algunos demandan la independencia.

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