Which Countries are Most Similar to Mali? 2.0

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 way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.

Similar to other predominately Muslim former French colonies in Africa

The top five countries most similar to Mali all were colonized by France and use French as their lingua franca. In addition, the majority of the people in the top five countries are Muslim. However, most of these countries have secular governments, unlike many Arab countries. These countries all happen to have quite a low standard of living as well.

The five least similar countries in Mali all border the Pacific Ocean. They have a lot of coastline and they get far more rainfall. In addition, the infrastructure in these countries is much more developed. The majority of the people in four of the five least similar countries have East Asian ancestry.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Mali

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Chad is yet another landlocked country located in the Sahara Desert on this list. Both countries are predominately Muslim, although Chad has a higher percentage of Christians. Furthermore, both countries were colonized by France, but Chad has a greater Arab influence. In fact, Arabic is one of its official languages. Chad was also not part of French West Africa, so it uses a different, albeit related, currency.
  6. Benin, 7. Gambia, 8. Ivory Coast, 9. Mauritania, 10. Togo

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Mali

  1. Japan is by far the least similar country to Mali. In fact, they are two of the least similar countries. 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.
  2. Taiwan‘s climate is hotter than Japan, since it is closer to the equator, but its climate is still much wetter than Mali. The diet of Taiwanese people is especially different from Mali, since they eat more fruits, meat, and rice. It is also a densely populated and mountainous island, in contrast to landlocked Mali.
  3. South Korea is yet another East Asian country with little in common with Mali, however it does have a few more things in common than Japan and Taiwan. Similar to Mali, most South Koreans are circumcised. South Korea also drives on the right side of the road and uses Type C electrical outlets. However, their infrastructure is much more developed than Mali.
  4. New Zealand is another mountainous, temperate archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, like Japan. It is much wealthier and more developed than Mali. However, both countries do use the Latin alphabet, although their native languages are unrelated. New Zealand’s laws are also much more liberal than Mali. It does not allow same sex marriage or the possession of pornography.
  5. Singapore is a small densely populated island in Southeast Asia. Like New Zealand, it was once a colony of Great Britain before becoming independent. Most of its people have Chinese ancestry. Despite being surrounded by Muslim countries, only 15% of its people are Muslim and it is quite religiously diverse. Still, its infrastructure is more developed and has different standards. The country drives on the left side of the road and uses Type G electrical outlets.
  6. Canada, 7. United Kingdom, 8. United States, 9. Norway, 10. Germany

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Mali

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.


  1. I do agree with countries that are similar to Mali in that they are predominately Muslim former French colonies in Africa.


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