Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based objective way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/
Similar to other former countries of French West Africa
The top 5 countries most similar to Mali all were colonized by France and use French as their lingua franca. In addition, 4 of the top 5 countries have Islam as their most common religion. However, these countries have secular governments, unlike many Arab countries. 4 of the top 5 countries also use the same currency: the West African CFA franc.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Mali
- Niger is another landlocked Muslim country in Africa that is mostly desert. The countries have similar flora and fauna. Both countries were once part of the Songhai Empire. Although both countries have French as their official language, the native languages of the people in Niger are completely different from Mali since they are most are not from the Niger-Congo family.
- Burkina Faso is another landlocked country. Both countries have a significant percentage of Fula people. Their governments are also similar. Although they are not especially democratic, they are also not dictatorships. They both have unicameral legislatures with many different parties represented. Mali and Burkina Faso also allow polygamy and unorganized prostitution. However, only 60% of Burkina Faso’s citizens are Muslim.
- Senegal and Mali were actually one country briefly in 1960, but much earlier in history Senegal was part of the Mali Empire. Their flags are also incredibly similar. Furthermore, their agriculture is similar as well since they both grow millet, rice, sorghum, and corn, but Mali grows less peanuts. However, Senegal is not landlocked and it also gets more rainfall.
- Guinea is to the south of Mali. Both countries have many Mandé and Fula people. Guinea’s flag is also nearly identical to Mali’s except that the red and green are reversed. Both countries use a combination of hydropower and oil to create electricity. However, Guinea does not have a large percentage of desert land, like Mali. Another significant difference is that it does not use the West African CFA franc.
- Benin is the only country in the top 5 with a majority Christian population, but it also has a significant number of Muslims as well. As a result, it drinks significantly more alcohol and polygamy is not allowed. Still, both countries were once colonized by the French and also have a similar standard of living.
- Ivory Coast, 7. Chad, 8. Mauritania, 9. Central African Republic, 10. Togo
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Mali
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Mali. Its geography is especially different, since it is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate and a lot of rainfall. Its demographics, culture, and technology are also quite different. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that the average height and weight of their people are similar.
- New Zealand is another mountainous, temperate archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, in contrast to Mali’s relatively flat and landlocked desert landscape. Like Japan, it is much wealthier and more developed.
- Canada is another former British colony on this list. Its government is the least similar to Mali’s. Canada is far more liberal and democratic. It is also one of the coldest countries in the world, while Mali is one of the hottest. However, both countries do have French as one of their official languages.
- United Kingdom, like Japan and New Zealand, is an island based country. It is also much more densely populated. It has vastly different traits than Mali, since it was colonized by France. However, one similarity is they are located in the same time zone.
- United States is yet another former British colony on this list. It is especially different from Mali, since it has so many guns per capita and its military is much more sophisticated. Still, both countries have few laws restricting guns. There are also some parts of the United States that are desert.
- Denmark, 7. Netherlands, 8. Norway, 9. Switzerland, 10. Taiwan
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Mali
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