Sikasso Region, the Republic of Mali
Located in the south of the country, Sikasso Region is the third largest administrative region of Mali. Sikasso boasts a land area of more than 70,000 square kilometers, accounting for 5.66% of the nation’s total. Geographically, the region is flat in the center and north while hilly in the south, with four major rivers running through, namely the Sankarani River, the Bagoé River, the Baoulé River and the Banifing River. People from a variety of ethnic groups, including the Senufo people, the Minianka people, the Bobo people and the Fula people, etc., form a harmonious coexistence in the region. Sikasso enjoys abundant water resources that provide superior support for the region’s development in agriculture, forestry and livestock farming. Endowed with ideal natural conditions, the region produces abundant agricultural products and is a well-known center for cotton farming. Sikasso is also marked by a long history and an exceptional culture formed by the fusion of various ethnic groups. As the birthplace of Balafon, Sikasso hosts the annual Triangle du balafon, a music festival that constantly attracts musicians from Mali’s neighboring countries to compete against the locals and showcase their musical talents. The Triangle du balafon has become a major cultural event facilitating the cultural exchange between Mali and its neighboring countries.
Sikasso and Yunnan officially became friendship provinces on November 24, 1990, making Sikasso Region Yunnan’s first ever overseas friendship province. Since the establishment of the friendly relationship, the two sides have seen expansions in friendly exchanges and cooperation in high-level visits and agricultural issues. High quality rice seeds, water pumps, solar lights and artemether injections were among Yunnan’s gifts to Sikasso in the 1990s. The two sides have also engaged in beneficial discussions on cooperation in rice cultivation, tea cultivation, processing and marketing, sugar cane cultivation and processing, and single-crystalline-silicon solar cells manufacturing, etc.