In Mali, poverty is widespread and persistent, especially in rural areas, because of severe food underproduction. Only just over seven per cent of farmable land is properly irrigated or cultivated. This is due to a number of factors, including underdeveloped markets and Mali's vulnerability to climate change.
The country has been hit by a series of crises including a drought in 2011 and an armed conflict in the north in 2012. When Malians who had fled to Libya later returned home, tensions rose, due to limited resources and land.
Eventually an armed militia group overthrew the Malian government. This left a power vacuum which saw the rise of several militant groups in the north. Hundreds of thousands of northern Malians again fled the violence, heading to the south of the nation and to neighbouring countries.