Didier Drogba, Marc Zoro and Boubacar Sanogo scored for the Elephants in an exciting game at the Accra Stadium.
The Ivorians made most of the early running and were rewarded in the 10th minute when Drogba put them ahead with a good finish following a superb build-up.
Zoro should have doubled their lead in the 19th minute when he sent his free header wide of goal, while striker Arouna Kone also sent a header wide from a corner by Siaka Tiene in the 29th minute.
Mali should have drawn level a minute later when Sammy Traore sent a free header wide from a free-kick.
The match remained 1-0 at the break.
Ivory Coast continued pushing forward in the opening stages of the second half and extended their lead in the 54th minute when Zoro rose highest to head home Yaya Toure’s corner at the near post.
Drogba almost made it 3-0 three minutes later when he latched onto a corner, but the Chelsea striker’s header was cleared off the line by Adama Tamboura.
Dramane Toure almost pulled a goal back for Mali in the 68th minute when his header crashed onto the crossbar from a free-kick by Seydou Keita.
Kone wasted a glorious chance in the 77th minute when he shot straight at Mali keeper Mahamadou Sidibe.
Substitute Boubacar Sanogo made it 3-0 five minutes before the end when he slotted home from close range after Sidibe could only parry Yaya Toure’s shot.
Ivory Coast: 3 (Didier Drogba 10, Marc Zoro 54, Boubacar Sanogo 85)
Yellow Cards: Tamboura
Ivory Coast: 1 Boubacar Barry, 21 Emmanuel Eboue, 22 Marc Zoro, 7 Emerse Fae, 13 Ndri Romaric, 17 Siaka Tiene, 19 Gneri Toure Yaya, 5 Didier Zokora, 11 Didier Drogba (20 Constant Djakpa 75th), 18 Abdulkader Keita (14 Bakari Kone 59th), 9 Arouna Kone
Mali: 1 Mahamadou Sidibe, 4 Adama Coulibaly (13 Mamadou Diallo 47th), 14 Drissa Diakite, 15 Cedric Kante, 3 Adama Tamboura, 17 Sammy Traore, 12 Seydou Keita, 11 Djibril Sidibe, 19 Frederic Kanoute (20 Mohamed Sissoko 46th), 8 Bassala Toure (21 Mohamadou Dissa 60), 10 Dramane Traore