Ecowas exit: Wetin next for Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso?

Ecowas exit: Wetin next for Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso?


Wetin we call dis foto,

Leaving di bloc fit further isolate di three Sahel nations

  • Author, Chris Ewokor
  • Role, BBC News, Lagos

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger bin unsettle di region dis week by quitting regional bloc, di Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

Analysts say dem threaten to undermine Ecowas effort to overturn series of violent military coups and risks di stability and unity of di entire 15-member union.

Inside one joint statement on Sunday, di three Sahel neighbours express dia concerns. Dem tok say Ecowas neva do enough to combat militants from Islamic State and al-Qaeda, wey don destabilise di region.

Dem also accuse West African leaders of “serving foreign interests.”

Any member wey wish to leave must give one-year written notice, according to di membership treaty.

Di Ecowas secretariat for Abuja don decline to comment on di notification. Nigerian President wey be di current chair of ECOWAS Bola Ahmed Tinubu say di “unelected” military authorities go let dia pipo down wit dia joint decision to leave di bloc.

Recent toks wit di respective juntas fail to get agreement to expedite elections wey go give power back to di voters.

Leaving di bloc go further isolate di three Sahel states.

Wia dis foto come from, AFP

Wetin we call dis foto,

Supporters of di Alliance Of Sahel States for Niamey celebrate Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger leaving di Economic Community of West African States

International Affairs analyst and senior fellow at di Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Prof Jibrin Ibrahim warn: “Sadly, dis withdrawal fit lead to intensification of di crisis for di Sahel, rather dan reduction.”

Prof Ibrahim point to weaker relationship wit Algeria as a result of di withdrawal, wey leave di three more susceptible to attack from Islamic militant groups based for di North.

Di medium-term impact dey unclear but no doubt e go significantly reduce Ecowas economic control for Africa – di current membership e represent gross domestic product (GDP) of more dan $700bn.

Di agreement establishing di bloc for 1975 create free movement protocol allowing citizens to travel witout visas within di region. Dis don bring high economic benefits by boosting intra-regional trade, supporting di livelihoods of families within di community and increasing remittance flows within di region.

Prof Ibrahim tink di bloc dey fairly successful at drawing di kontris togeda to integrate trade, healthcare and crucially collective support for political and democratic governance but say all dis now dey look at risk.

Mr Ilyasu Gadu, former attaché of di Nigerian mission for Germany and di UK say di move to breakaway fit push odas to separate from di regional bloc too.

Wia dis foto come from, AFP

Wetin we call dis foto,

Support dey for Mali and Niger for di move to leave following protests ova sanctions

Friends, foes and comrades

Ova di past decade juntas for Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali don kick out dia elected goment, citing deteriorating security as rationale for each power struggle.

However, since dia coups, jihadist attack don significantly increase.

Ecowas respond to di coups wit punitive sanctions, triggering di surge in commodity prices in Mali and Niger and protests against Ecowas for dia “illegal and inhumane” response.

For December 2023, di World Food Programme report say di price of rice for Niger don increase by more dan 20%, and one quarter of di 25 million pipo dey face severe food insecurity.

Di juntas den move closer to Russia and further away from Europe, cutting ties wit former colonial powers. Up until last year, France get more dan 5,000 troops for di region. And di United Nations mission get 13,000 troops and staff to support stabilisation for Mali. However, di juntas kick out di foreign troops and instead dem welcome in Wagner mercenaries – so far deployed to both Mali and Burkina Faso.

Mr Gadu tok say Russia don become “di favourite of di pipo of dose kontris – to shore-up dia defences, and build up partnerships and economic security.”

E tok say di war for Ukraine don “put Nato, wey US, France and Britain dey lead on one side and Russia [on di oda]. And Russia don to establish a lot of roots into West Africa – a place wey pipo consider di political playground of France.” France on di oda hand “don be di target of so much antagonism,” e add.

Wia dis foto come from, AFP

Wetin we call dis foto,

Leaving di bloc no necessarily mean ongoing security cooperation go stop

Wetin fit happun now?

Eurasia Group Africa analyst Amaka Anku tok say Ecowas face veri difficult decision on sanctions afta reiterating e no go tolerate coups.

“Response suppose dey to maintain credibility and purpose as organisation,” she tok. “At di same time, di root cause of di coups for di Sahel dey fundamentally about failure of state capacity, particularly around security and di broader provision of public goods.”

Anku tok say now Ecowas gatz find longer-term plan to tackle dis head-on.

Leaving di bloc no necessarily mean security cooperation go grind to stop – after all, ongoing security coordination dey between non-members like Chad, Cameroon. But Anku tok say Ecowas need more robust trans-national plan to address di significant security gaps across di region.

“Dis fit be formal regional security arrangement, wit strongly coordinated intelligence and ground capabilities,” she tok. “But e go require significant resources wey dis kontris no currently get. No be easy problem to solve ultimately.”

Wia dis foto come from, AFP

Wetin we call dis foto,

Di Alliance of Sahel States don form and di G5 Sahel security coalition don collapse

Prof Jibrin Ibrahim believe say intense rivalry between Algeria and Morocco dey central to di politics behind di break and e go create new alliances.

E think Di Sahel three want dey more closely tied wit Morocco. Surprising diplomatic move from di kontri offering access to di Atlantic Ocean through di territorial waters – fit prove to be potential lifeline.

Di three dey landlocked and dey highly dependent on dia neighbours for access to di sea, trade and imported food so dis potentially create a new economic and geopolitical alliance, splitting off from di bloc.

But dis fit backfire, Prof Ibrahim tok. Di three fit find demselves begin dey struggle wit plenti terrorist activities for dia own kontris, prompt and encourage by Algeria, and dis dey really “risky for dem as well,” e tell di BBC.


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