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Mali is a former French colony in Northern Africa, and home to the evocative city of Timbuctoo. The country has one of the most diverse landscapes in the whole of the continent, partly due to its status as one of the largest countries in Africa. Northern Mali is in the Sahara desert, having land borders with Algeria, Niger, and Mauritania. The south of the country is typified by life alongside the Niger and Senegal rivers.
Major exports from Mali include cotton and fish, and more than 80% of the country’s workforce is employed in the agricultural sector. Moving large volumes of these goods out of the country has rejuvenated Mali’s international mail and delivery networks and is at the heart of the nation’s economy.
Cheap shipping to Mali requires the services of a reliable courier, with experience of working on the ground in the country. Transport infrastructure within Mali is often in a poor state of repair, and in some areas of the north and south, outside Bamako and Timbuctoo, there is no infrastructure whatsoever. Although cheap courier services to Mali from the UK remains possible – by using the international airports in the big cities – once your parcel arrives in Mali, delivery presents a real logistical challenge.
Unlike many other nations, arranging a cheap courier to Mali has become more complex and challenging in recent years, due to the fragile political and security situation there. Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel by UK nationals to anywhere except Bamako and the very south of Mali, where only essential travel is recommended. There is a very high level of terrorist and anti-Western activity in Mali, including indiscriminate attacks, as well as kidnappings, which can make offering cheap courier services to Mali somewhat difficult.
A state of emergency has been in place since 4th April 2016, and was recently extended until 31st October 2017. It is likely to be extended further beyond this date. There is a large multi-national military presence in Mali, supporting local and regional security, however the situation is still febrile.
Read on for our guide to finding the most efficient and cheapest parcel delivery to Mali.
Because of the current situation, there are few options for cheap parcel delivery to Mali, and you would be well advised to look for the services of a quality, reliable delivery company, prioritising experience over price.
Delivery to Bamako itself can usually be completed within two to three days, local and international conditions permitting. Within the city area, parcel delivery to Mali from the UK is by organised courier delivery services and will be of a style instantly recognisable here in the UK.
Further afield, particularly in the desert area in the north of Mali, your delivery is likely to take longer – sometimes significantly longer. There may be no roads to your package’s intended destination, in which case delivery would have to be completed by air or using off-road transport.
Before you send a parcel to Mali, especially the area near the northern border with Algeria, you should fully acquaint yourself with the current local security situation, and the status of local terrorist and guerrilla groups. The security situation is liable to change suddenly and dramatically with little or no warning which could make arranging cheap delivery to Mali difficult.
In the south of the country, particularly around the Niger and Senegal rivers, heavy rain can cause sudden and massive flooding, which will also have a negative impact on delivery schedules.
As a landlocked country, delivery by sea is not possible to Mali directly. Large or bulky items which will fit into palletised deliveries can be sent to the country by air using the international airport in Bamako. However, cheap shipping to Mali for anything larger will have to be shipped by sea to a neighbouring country and then delivered by lorry overland; currently, a perilous operation. If you require large or bulk deliveries to Mali, it is vital that you discuss this with a specialist Mali parcel delivery company, leaving as much time as possible before your intended shipment.
Mali’s French colonial history and status as part of the ‘French Zone’ – using French currency, and with streamlined customs and border arrangements with France – means that you are likely to find cheap delivery to Mali using French providers such as Asendia, part of the La Poste group.
However, due to the significant difficulties already explained, you are likely to find a cheap courier to Mali is more expensive than many other African countries. A small parcel delivery to Mali from UK will be approximately £35.00, with delivery taking 9-11 days.
If you are looking for something a little faster, DHL Air Express offer parcel delivery UK to Mali aiming for arrival within 2-3 days of shipment to the Bamako area. The cost for this service starts from roughly £50, although delivery will take longer outside of the capital.
For larger or more complex deliveries, cheap parcel delivery to Mali is less common. You can still get a good deal, however, by getting quotes from several different providers.
The international and security situation in Mali and the wider North-West African region means that all shipments will be subjected to greatly enhanced customs and security screening both on leaving the UK and arriving in Mali. You must ensure that you do not send a parcel to Mali containing any items which are prohibited.
The Mali authorities impose a number of additional restrictions over and above the general items that are prohibited from being sent through the international postal network. These include a ban on sending any of the following items into the country:
As with many West African countries, you would also be well advised to ensure that your delivery does not contain anything which may be construed to be of a military nature, including GPS receivers (which also means many mobile phones), camouflage-pattern clothing (even if in the UK it may be a fashion item), and any kind of weapon (e.g. knives).
Although Mali has close links with France, it is not part of the EU customs area and, as such, you must ensure that your Mali parcel delivery carries a fully and correctly completed CN22 or CN23 customs declaration. This label must list every item contained in your parcel, as well as its value.
Mali parcel delivery does not require postal codes in delivery addresses, so it is important that you ensure that the address you put on your parcel contains as much information as possible to give it the best chance of reaching its intended recipient. It is wise to also include your own name and address when you send a parcel to Mali, as well as contact telephone numbers in Mali and the UK, in case of any problems while your package is en-route.
If you’re looking to compare couriers offering parcel delivery to Mali, use our comparison tool here at Parcel Delivery to find the best courier for your parcel delivery UK to Mali.