Some facts

  • The Inner Niger Delta in Mali is a 3.000.000 hectare wetland consisting of flood plains, lakes, river branches and small pockets of flood forest.
  • It is part of the 4.200 kilometres Niger river catchment, which flows through 10 countries before discharging in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Classified as a Ramsar site in 2004, it is of extraordinary importance for a large range of water dependent plant and animal species.
  • Main ethnic groups in the region include Fulani (which are cattle breeders), Bozo and Somono (both fishermen) and Bambara and Rimaibe (which are farmers).

About the Inner Niger Delta (IND), Mali

The Inner Niger Delta (IND) is a densely populated area, with many socio-economic activities (agriculture, livestock, fisheries, picking of fruits, handicraft, navigation, tourism and trade) and is inhabited by 1 million people who depend on the Delta resources and ecosystem.

It is also an area with many animals (cattle, goats, sheep, etc.) from the different regions of Mali in view of the abundant pasturelands. It is a refuge for fauna and specific flora. The Delta, with its many river arms, ponds and lakes, is a good area for fish production (nearly 100 000 tonnes during high waters and 50 000 tonnes during low rainfall).

Cutural potential

The Delta is an area of culture, and immense tourist and economic potential. Many historic cities such as Hamdallahi (former capital of Dina), Djenné and Bandiagara are major tourist centres. These last two towns have been included in UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list since 1989. The tourism sector welcomed about 100 000 tourists and represented a market of 76224509 Euros in 2001.

Ramsar Site

In 2004, the Delta, which covers 30 000 km2, was classified as a Ramsar Site. It is a major biodiversity centre with the two largest known bird nest colonies in Africa; furthermore, it forms a vital part of the eco-regional network, with 3 to 4 million resident or migratory water birds from almost all parts of the world, in particular Europe and Asia.

The Delta covers the Ségou region (Macina District), Mopti region (Djenné, Mopti, Tenenkoun, and Youwarou districts), and Tombouctou region (Nianfunké, Diré and Goundam districts), with a total of 82 local rural district and 8 District Authorities.

Projects  in the Inner Niger Delta

Wetlands International, via its offices in Mali, explores a range of activities to maintain the delta and its people, fish production, seasonal flows and biodiversity.

We advocate to maintain the water flows at the level of the Niger Basin Authority and prevent adverse upstream developments. We also conduct many projects locally, to restore forests, prevent overfishing and catching of water birds. Clcik here for more information.


Inner Niger Delta: the floodplains (light blue) and permanent water bodies (dark blue) - click to enlarge