A Commune is the third level administrative unit in Mali. Mali is divided into eight regions and one capital district (Bamako). These subdivisions bear the name of their principal city. The regions are divided into 49 Cercles. The Cercles and the district are divided into 703 Communes, with 36 Urban Communes and 667 Rural Communes, while some larger Cercles still contain Arrondissements above the Commune level, there are organisational with no independent power or office. Rural Communes are subdivided in Villages, while Urban Communes are subdivided into Quartier (wards or quarters). Communes usually bear the name of their principal town. The capital, Bamako, consists of six Urban Communes. There were initially 701 communes until the Law No. 001-041 of 7 June 2005 created two new Rural Communes in the desert region in the north east of the country: Alata, Ménaka Cercle in the Gao Region and Intadjedite, Tin-Essako Cercle in the Kidal Region.
Not every built up area (which might be described as a town) is a Commune, and not every Commune (especially Rural Communes) contains a large town. In most cases where towns and Communes coincide, Commune borders extend beyond built up areas and are, like the Communes of France on which they were based during the colonial period, an administrative structure. Unlike French Communes, they are not the lowest level administrative structure of the nation.
Legally, the Commune structure was created by Law no 96- 059/AN- RM of 4 November 1996. The communes generally retain the same boundaries as the former arrondissements. Commune affairs are directed by a Commune Council (conseil communal) of elected members and a Commune executive (bureau communal) of the elected Mayor and three adjutants. The executive is tasked with carrying out the directives voted by the Council. National policies are carried out by a Sub-Prefect (sous préfet), who also carries out certain of the Council's directives over the local arms or national bodies.
- Loi N°99-035/ Du 10 Aout 1999 Portant Creation des Collectivites Territoriales de Cercles et de Regions (PDF) (in French), Ministère de l'Administration Territoriales et des Collectivités Locales, République du Mali, 1999CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
- Plan de Securite Alimentaire Commune Rurale Intedjedit (PDF) (in French), Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire, République du Mali, 2007CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
- Presidency of the Republic of Mali, Project on Food Security. (French)Plan De Securite Alimentaire Commune Rurale De Bafoulabe 2007- 2011. Projet de Mobilisation des Initiatives en matière de Sécurité Alimentaire au Mali (PROMISAM), l'USAID/Mali (December 2006)
- Statsoid.com : Mali
- MATCL - MINISTERE DE L'ADMINISTRATION TERRITORIALE ET DES COLLECTIVITES LOCALES: Government of the Republic of Mali.
- Maplibrary: vector maps of national subdivisions of Mali.
- La Délégation Générale aux Elections, Government of Mali: database of all registered electors in Mali (2007), includes a hierarchical list of every Cercle, Commune, and Quarter in the nation.
- CARTE ÉLECTORALE GÉNÉRALE DU MALI, La Délégation Générale aux Elections, Republique du Mali. Listing of every Cercle in Mali, with subpages showing each Commune and a list of polling place (villages, quartiers) for each commune. As of 2007 elections.