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As a native of the Timbuktu region in Mali, West Africa, one of the most unstable areas of the country, I have been an eyewitness to the devastating effects of climate variability and change on people's lives. It has been affecting livelihoods, causing migration and hardship, contributing to conflict, and even impeding access to education, among the many impacts. Because of my desire to help my country, I spent my summer interning at Columbia's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN).
Mali is one of the three poorest countries in the world, ranked 176th on the 2015 Human Development Index. A landlocked nation that is mostly desert or semi-desert, Mali is a little more than 480,000 square miles, with a population of about 18 million as of 2016. The Niger River is considered the country's life stream, supporting the provision of water, irrigation, transportation, and agriculture.
Addition - Producer - Gold - Africa—Mali - Population
In addition to mining—Mali is the third largest producer of gold in Africa—Mali's population sustains itself on subsistence agriculture and the tending of livestock, inhabiting dry-land areas that are poorly connected to markets and heavily dependent on rainfall. Thus the majority of the population is highly vulnerable to shocks. Eighty percent of livelihoods depend on the use of land and water, so pressures on natural resources risk the emergence of conflict situations. Exposure to shocks such as drought, and calamities such as crop pests and animal disease, has historically led to major crises of food insecurity and widespread malnutrition in Mali. It is estimated that more than four million people—more than 25 percent of the Malian population—are chronically food-insecure, and around 1.7 million are permanently at risk of hunger.
Only 10 percent of the population of Mali lives in the north. According to a 2016 World Bank report, the delivery of services in such a large...
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