Military-led Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso quit ECOWAS
- Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso withdraw from ECOWAS due to dissatisfaction with sanctions imposed in response to recent coups in their respective countries.
- The leaders of these Sahel nations criticize the regional bloc, citing the organization's failure to provide adequate support in their ongoing struggles against terrorism and insecurity.
- The departure marks a rupture in the longstanding relationship between the junta-led West African states and the regional economic community.
In a joint statement aired on Niger national television, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso announced their immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday. The leaders of these Sahel nations criticized the regional bloc, deeming their departure a "sovereign decision" due to dissatisfaction with ECOWAS sanctions imposed in response to recent coups in their respective countries.
The statement conveyed the disappointment of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, lamenting the divergence of ECOWAS from the ideals set forth by its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism after 49 years of association.
Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the spokesperson for the Niger junta, specifically highlighted the organization's failure to provide adequate support in the states' ongoing struggles against terrorism and insecurity. The departure signals a rupture in the longstanding relationship between the junta-led West African states and the regional economic community.
Faced with the challenges of jihadist violence and widespread poverty, the administrations of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali have experienced strained relations with ECOWAS, particularly following coups in Niger last July, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Mali in 2020. As a consequence, all three nations were suspended from ECOWAS, with Niger and Mali subjected to substantial sanctions. Over recent months, these regimes, grappling with both internal and regional pressures, have solidified their positions and formed an "Alliance of Sahel States." Compounding the situation, the withdrawal of French military presence from the Sahel, a region spanning across the Sahara desert in Africa, has raised apprehensions about the potential southward spread of conflicts. This development has sparked concerns, particularly among Gulf of Guinea states such as Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast, as they now face heightened risks associated with the destabilization in the Sahel region. The confluence of these factors underscores the complex and interconnected challenges facing West Africa.