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Voice of America Launches Bambara Language Service

Kadiatou Traore of the VOA Bambara Service in the anchor chair in Washington, DC.
Kadiatou Traore of the VOA Bambara Service in the anchor chair in Washington, DC.

Recognizing Mali's importance to security and governance on the African continent, the Voice of America launched a Bambara language broadcasting service on September 22, Mali’s national independence day.

“By establishing a separate Bambara service, VOA is investing new resources in its programming to the region,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “Our goal is to continue producing authoritative reporting for millions of Malians that provides even more content from a dedicated staff in this new service.”

VOA Bambara language broadcasts began in 2013 as part of French-to-Africa language service programming on shortwave, on 24/7 FM stations in Bamako, Gao, and Timbuktu, on digital platforms and on regional affiliates. The new Bambara service programming will include a daily morning show, livestreaming from Bamako, and greater multimedia content from Bambara-speaking communities in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

The Voice of America delivered around-the-clock multimedia coverage of Mali’s August 2020 and May 2021 military coups, serving as one of the country’s primary sources of independent news, especially in its northern regions now largely controlled by Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups.

The daily Bambara news radio program “Mali Kura” covers events across the Sahel, the region of Africa separating the Sahara Desert to the north and tropical savannas to the south. VOA provides in-depth analysis and context on the current affairs show “Djamu Kan” and on the call-in show “An Ba Fo.” Bambara-speaking audiences get the latest entertainment news and major artists’ interviews on the weekly interactive youth show “Farafina Foly.” VOA Bambara's expansion as part of this new language service includes a television health show and more on-demand video for social media.