Skip to content

Mali’s Plans to Weave Back its Economy

Mali is one of Africa’s largest cotton growers. But most of its harvest is shipped abroad. VOA takes us to a women’s cooperative working to add more value to that cotton at home. Malians have historically been good at making fabric and used to compete with Yorubas in Nigeria. In the 1960s, when synthetic dyes arrived in West Africa, Malians learned how to use colorants on fabrics to reflect their aesthetic tastes. Nigerians have since established a niche for themselves in embroidery, allowing Malians to claim the bragging rights for high-quality hand-dyed fabrics.