With roughly 47% of its population under the age of 15 as of 2010, the future of Mali, is most definitely, it's children. The median age is only 16 years old. A strikingly young number, yet, it's not much greater than most of its neighbors or that of many African countries.
Over 90% of the population lives in the southern portion of the country. If you're not up-to-date on the latest news out of Mali, you might not be aware that for the past few years, Mali has had a series of travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department and for good reason. The northern portion of the country is generally not too safe to travel in. Besides being largely desert and not very hospitable, violent extremists and militants occupy the area.
Ever hear of Timbuktu? In Mali. Sadly, many of its cultural sites have been destroyed or damaged by those same militants. While the city itself has been freed from the militants by the Malian army with the assistance of French soldiers, travel in the area is still not considered safe.
As for this boy? As I was walking around the market in Djenne, he started taking my photo with his Disko phone. I thought it only fair that I get a photo of him as well. The children here all love to have their photos captured, thinking they'll end up on TV or in Newspapers.
A boy and his phone. Pretty good compared to what you'd find in the villages.