Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Exit ECOWAS, Form Separate Alliance

Orinoco Tribune, January 29. 2024 —

In recent months, the three African nations solidified their positions and formed an “Alliance of Sahel States.”

The military governments in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger on Sunday declared their prompt exit from the West African bloc ECOWAS.

The leaders of the three Sahel nations released a statement, asserting that their departure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a “sovereign decision” to be executed “without delay.”

Facing challenges from the ongoing insurgencies and economic hardship, the governments have experienced strained relations with ECOWAS, particularly following coups in Niger in July of last year, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Mali in 2020.

All three nations were suspended from ECOWAS, with Niger and Mali enduring substantial sanctions.

Alliance of the Sahel States
In recent months, these countries have solidified their stances and formed an “Alliance of Sahel States.”

The withdrawal of French military forces from the Sahel, the region along the Sahara desert across Africa, has raised concerns about the potential spread of conflicts southward to Gulf of Guinea states, including Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast.

The prime minister appointed by Niger’s military regime criticized ECOWAS for “bad faith” on Thursday, expressing dissatisfaction as the bloc largely avoided a scheduled meeting in Niamey.

Niger expected a chance to address differences with fellow ECOWAS states, but the organization had been distant, subjecting Niamey to substantial economic and financial sanctions in response to the military coup that ousted elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

On July 30th, 2023, ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) froze Niger’s assets, imposed sanctions on the junta officials, and gave a stern warning of military intervention if the former government is not restored within a week’s deadline.

Correspondingly, the junta took a set of measures to consolidate its authority and fortify its anti-imperialist stance: halting uranium and gold exports to Europe, revoking all military deals with France, and blocking French media platforms France24 and RFI. Additionally, the military leaders warned France and ECOWAS against any military intervention: stressing that they will “resolutely defend their homeland.”

Regional countries have also taken opposing stances on Niger. Original members of the Western-backed ECOWAS bloc such as Senegal have affirmed their commitment to partake in the military intervention.

Mali and Burkina Faso who had also defected from the Western bloc vehemently opposed the threat of military intervention against Niger saying they would consider it a declaration of war against their respective nations if the ECOWAS bloc went through with the threatened military intervention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *