Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have jointly declared their decision to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with immediate effect.
The three countries expressed dissatisfaction, stating that ECOWAS has deviated from its intended purpose, which no longer aligns with their interests.
In a joint press statement released on Sunday, January 28, they formally announced the denunciation of their membership in the regional organization.
“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” excerpts of the statement said.
The decision by Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to withdraw from ECOWAS comes after the suspension of the three countries by the regional body due to coups and their failure to comply with ECOWAS directives to restore civilian rule.
Amid their suspension, the countries have chosen to reject ECOWAS membership, indicating defiance of the regional body’s actions.
“Indeed, the organization has not provided assistance to our States in the context of our existential fight against terrorism and insecurity; worse, when these States decided to take their destiny into their own hands, it adopted an irrational and unacceptable posture by imposing illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions in violation of its texts; all things which have further weakened populations already bruised by years of violence imposed by instrumentalized and remote-controlled terrorist hordes.”
During a summit held in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2023, West African leaders called for a “short” transitional period towards civilian rule in Niger to consider easing economic sanctions imposed on the country.
The sanctions were implemented after Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted in a coup in July 2023, and the junta announced a three-year timeline for the return to civilian rule.
In Mali, civilian rule was disrupted by two coups, the first in August 2020, and Burkina Faso experienced the overthrow of its elected government in 2022.
The recent decision by the three West African countries to withdraw from ECOWAS reflects their dissatisfaction with the regional body’s actions and deviation from its founding purpose.
Source: Ernest K. Arhinful