Home News Africa Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger Plan Confederation Amid ECOWAS Exit

Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger Plan Confederation Amid ECOWAS Exit

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In a significant move that underscores the shifting geopolitical landscape in West Africa, the foreign ministry of Mali announced on Thursday that Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic are moving forward with plans to establish a confederation.

This development follows the announcement made in January 2024 by these Sahel nations of their intention to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a decision that has raised concerns over the future of regional integration.

These countries, all founding members of ECOWAS in 1975, found their memberships suspended in the wake of military coups that ousted elected civilian governments, leading to a reassessment of their regional affiliations.

The trio’s latest meeting in Ouagadougou, as detailed by Burkina’s Defence Minister General Kassoum Coulibaly, focused on laying down the “instruments, mechanisms, and procedures” and the “legal architecture for the confederation.”

General Salifou Modi of Niger echoed these sentiments, highlighting the potential benefits of such an alliance for the populations of the three countries.

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This move towards a confederation also includes discussions on establishing a monetary union and the possibility of abandoning the West African CFA franc, signaling a significant departure from long-standing economic and financial frameworks.

Moreover, the decision by these nations to cut military ties with France marks a dramatic shift in Sahel’s international relations, reducing France’s influence in the region and impacting global efforts to combat militant groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The push towards a confederation among Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic represents a critical juncture in West African politics, potentially altering the balance of power and cooperation mechanisms within the region.

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