Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export. In 1997, the government continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali's adherence to economic reform, and the 50% devaluation of the African franc in January 1994, has pushed up economic growth. Several multinational corporations increased gold mining operations in 1996-98, and the government anticipates that Mali will become a major Sub-Saharan gold exporter in the next few years.