Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso to form New Confederation after leaving ECOWAS

Ministers from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger convened in Ouagadougou on Thursday to explore the establishment of a confederation, as witnessed by an AFP journalist.

In September, the three military-led governments initiated a defense and economic pact known as the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

General Kassoum Coulibaly, Burkina’s Defence Minister, emphasized that the discussions aimed to advance the implementation of “instruments, mechanisms, and procedures,” along with developing the “legal architecture for the confederation.”

General Salifou Modi, his counterpart from Niger, expressed optimism that the outlined procedures would ensure the efficient functioning of both the alliance and the envisioned confederation, to the benefit of their respective populations.

During a meeting in Bamako in December, the foreign ministers of the three nations endorsed the idea of a confederation, aligning with their broader objective of uniting as West African neighbors within a federation.

General Abdourahamane Tiani of Niger suggested that establishing a common currency with Burkina and Mali could serve as a means to break free from perceived “colonial” influences.

This gathering follows closely on the heels of Burkina, Mali, and Niger’s announcement of their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which they were founding members in 1975. Their suspension from ECOWAS resulted from military coups displacing elected civilian governments.

Since 2020, the three nations have grappled with persistent jihadist violence and undergone military coups.

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