This is one of the two recent projects commissioned by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) to mark the 50th anniversary of Mali's independence from France: the National Park of Mali in Bamako, with new buildings such as a restaurant, a sport centre and several entrance buildings, marking one of the most important civic projects ever to take shape in West Africa. Another project is the visitor's center adjacent to the Great Mosque of Mopti which is a remarkable example of the earthen construction and is recently restored (2006).
The population of Bamako, the capital of the Republic of Mali, has risen rapidly in recent years, now numbering over one million inhabitants. Population growth has driven the demand for housing and public facilities. In this context, the need for far-sighted urban planning has been crucial. The Government of Mali responded by outlining the boundaries of the National Park of Mali, a space of 103 hectares within a larger protected forest reserve of 2,100 hectares that forms a significant greenbelt in the city of Bamako. Under the terms of the public-private partnership, the Government asked the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) to concentrate on a 103 hectares area that incorporates a large, semi-circular canyon of protected forest that lies beneath the terraced outcrops of the Koulouba plateau, between the National Museum and the Presidential Palace Complex.