More than $40 billion is sent to sub-Saharan Africa annually via money transfers, according to the World Bank. Mali ranks ninth among African nations for remittances sent back to the country by those living abroad. In 2018, remittances accounted for more than $1 billion in Mali, or 6% of GDP, though the pandemic has led to a significant dip.
And that figure doesn’t take into account informal and sometimes illegal money transfers, said to be at least sometimes twice or thrice as high as the official tally figure. In the wake of the August 2020 military coup in Mali, the Economic Community of West African States brought down harsh economic sanctions on the landlocked country.
For several months, money could not be sent to or out of the country due to the punitive measures imposed by the regional bloc.