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Mali's dyed brocade industry needs structure to survive

2 May 2014 Last updated at 12:19 BST

Mali's economy has suffered since armed groups occupied the northern part of the country in 2012, but one area that has remained robust is the production of the dyed brocade fabric.

It is regarded by many West Africans as the finest in the world.

There are now calls to formalise the trade, so that the cloth can be promoted for export.

Some kind of formal structure could be good for both profits and the health of the Mali people. Currently, the disposal of caustic soda in the Niger river is leading to regular lethal accidents.

The BBC's Alex Duval Smith reports from Bamako, the capital city of Mali.

Watch: Africa Business Report

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