Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger confirm their plan to join new confederation

Ministers from Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Niger Republic intend to proceed with the formation of a confederation, the Malian foreign ministry announced on Thursday.

This occurred when the three countries strengthened connections through an alliance that threatened larger West African unification.

The newest meeting comes just weeks after the impoverished Sahel region’s neighbours declared their resignation from the Economic Community of West African States in January 2024, a decision that the bloc has asked them to reconsider, warning of the additional hardships that would result.

All three were founding members of the regional bloc in 1975, but were suspended due to military coups that ousted elected civilian governments.

Burkina’s Defence Minister General Kassoum Coulibaly said the talks in Ouagadougou were an opportunity to pursue the implementation of “instruments, mechanisms and procedures” and the “legal architecture for the confederation” as quoted by Reuters.

The procedures will “allow our alliance and the confederation to function efficiently and to the great joy” of the three countries’ populations, his Niger counterpart General Salifou Modi said.

Last November, their finance ministers said they would weigh the option of setting up a monetary union and top officials from all three countries have, to varying degrees, voiced support for abandoning West Africa’s CFA franc common currency.

The juntas have all severed long-standing military ties with former colonial ruler France, dealing a blow to France’s influence in the Sahel and complicating international efforts to fight the militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

 

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