Mali Drops French as Official Language


Mali has adopted a new constitution, replacing French as its official language, which had held that status since 1960. Instead, French will now serve as the working language, while the country’s 13 national languages, including Bambara, Bobo, Dogon, and Minianka, will also gain official language status.

This constitutional change came into effect on Saturday, under the leadership of Mali’s junta leader, Col. Assimi Goita, marking the beginning of the Fourth Republic. The junta views the new constitution as essential for the country’s reconstruction, especially after experiencing two recent coups in August 2020 and May 2021. Initially, elections were promised for February 2022 but were subsequently postponed to 2024.

This move has been praised as a move forwards and away from Mali’s colonial past under French rule.