Mali, a West African nation of 15 million people, is facing serious hardship following a March coup d'etat that has since collapsed. Islamist militant groups have filled the void, forming an extremist mini-state in northern Mali, resulting in sanctions imposed by other African nations. The collapse of state governance has chased away foreign investment, and tourism has dropped precipitously. Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, saw its annual tourist count drop from more than 10,000 to fewer than 20 total foreign visitors this year. Although Mali's cotton and gold industries appear to be weathering the insecurity well so far, future development is on hold as the interim government in the south works to resolve issues with the patchwork of militant Islamists and Tuareg separatists who rule the north. Reuters photographer Joe Penney has spent months in Mali this year, returning with many photos such as these collected here.