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Bafoulabé is a town and commune in south-western Mali. It is located in the Region of Kayes. Bafoulabé is the capital of the Cercle of Bafoulabé, which in 1887 was the first Cercle to be created in Mali. Until the 1996 law creating communes, Bafoulabé Commune was an arrondissement. While now deprecated, the commune retains the same boundaries, extending far beyond the town of Bafoulabé, its seat (chef-lieu). Bafoulabé is also the seat of the larger Bafoulabé Cercle. Apart from the town, there are 28 villages, official rural subdivisions within the Commune.
It is a Rural Commune, meaning it is subdivided in villages, in contrast to the smaller Urban Commune, divided into urban Quarters. Commune affairs are directed by an elected Commune Council (conseil communal) of 23 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. At Bafoulabé the Bafing and Bakoy rivers meet to form the Sénégal River. In Bambara, Bafoulabé means "meeting of two rivers". The Manantali hydroelectric dam and its reservoir, Lake Manantali, the largest in Mali, is located 90 km to the south-east of Bafoulabé.