In 2021, Mali produced a total of 3.39 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, with approximately 64% of this coming from fossil fuels (2.17 TWh) and 36% from low-carbon sources (1.22 TWh), including hydropower which produced 1 TWh. These numbers are quite low compared to the global average electricity production of 410 watts per person, reflecting the fact that Mali is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels for its energy needs. Additionally, the low levels of electricity generation could have potential negative impacts on Mali's economy and its ability to meet the energy needs of its population, potentially hindering developments in infrastructures, education, healthcare and other critical sectors.
To increase its low-carbon electricity generation, Mali could take inspiration from countries with successful low-carbon energy productions. Countries of a similar climate, such as India and Brazil, have made significant inroads in solar and wind energy respectively, with India generating 119 TWh and Brazil 94 TWh from these sources. Thus, Mali, with its abundant sunshine and potential for wind, could invest more in these sources of clean energy. Furthermore, while nuclear energy is not presently used in Mali, it has been an effective source of low-carbon energy in many countries. The United States, for instance, has generated 776 TWh from nuclear energy showing that this can be a viable option for Mali to consider.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Mali has focused on hydro and biofuels. In the year 2000, both hydro and biofuels generation was zero. However, there was a small increase in hydroelectric generation from 2005 onwards, but this was often offset by decreases in subsequent years. For example, in 2005 there was a 0.2 TWh increase in hydroelectric generation, but this was followed by no progress in 2006. Gains in hydropower from 2008 to 2010 were brought down by a decline in 2013 and similar fluctuations persisted in subsequent years. In terms of development in biofuels, the years 2000, 2012, 2017 and 2018 all recorded no change in electricity generation from biofuels. The inconsistency in the growth of hydroelectric power suggests that Mali needs to invest more in its low-carbon energy mix, with potential focus on wind, solar and possibly nuclear, which have seen success in various parts of the world.