July 9, 2024

ECOWAS at Risk of Disassociation After AES Countries Pull Out

In late January, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS, citing the bloc’s ineffectiveness in combating terrorism. They also called the bloc a “threat” to its members and slammed it for imposing “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane, and irresponsible” sanctions on the three countries after the military took power in them. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is at risk of disassociation after AES countries pull out, as announced at the organization’s summit on Sunday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Below are other key points from the summit: Funding for more than $500 million worth of economic projects in the Alliance of Sahel States (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) could also be halted or suspended, said Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission. The sub-region’s free movement and common market could be threatened. The issue of visas for nationals of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali was raised. Nigeria appears to be giving the green light to the introduction of the regional ECO currency. A decision on a regional standby force to fight terrorism and a regional currency will also be taken, Omar Touray said. Presidents Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo have been appointed as facilitators for the AES. Meanwhile, President Umaro Sissoko of Guinea-Bissau has offered to take charge of Burkina Faso’s dossier, according to Burkinabe media. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu was re-elected to head the organization. In September of last year, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali formed the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) with the primary goal of improving their collective security measures and promoting socioeconomic development for their populations. In May, the nations endorsed a preliminary agreement outlining the establishment of a confederation. On Saturday, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger signed a charter establishing the Confederation of Sahel States during the inaugural summit of the heads of state and governments of the AES in Niamey, a Sputnik correspondent reported. They also agreed on establishing an investment bank and a stabilization fund for the confederation.

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Ugandan Youth ‘Adopted’ by President Vladimir Putin Tells How His Life Changed

At the closing ceremony of the 2024 World Youth Festival (WYF) in Sirius, Russia, in March, a particularly memorable participant from Uganda, Davis Akumpurira, asked the Russian president to accept him as his son from Africa, to which Vladimir Putin responded by jokingly calling him a son. Davis Akumpurira of Uganda was a participant in the World Youth Festival held in Russia in March, where he had the opportunity to talk and take a photo with the Russian leader. In March, Akumpurira asked Putin a question during the leader’s meeting with festival participants, confessing that he wanted to become “Putin’s son from Africa” and see the Russian president as his mentor. Putin responded by jokingly calling Akumpurira his son. The youth said at a World Youth Festival board meeting with the first deputy of the Russian presidential administration that the incident changed his life in Uganda because it brought him a lot of media attention and improved his “political career”. He added that he hoped “many more good things will happen” in his life in the future. The presidential administration official, in turn, said that Putin regularly asks how “his African son” is doing.

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‘Great Turning Point’: Senior Malian Official on Creation of Confederation of Sahel States

On July 6, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger signed a charter establishing the Confederation of Sahel States during the inaugural summit of the heads of state and governments of the AES in Niamey. They also agreed on establishing an investment bank and a stabilization fund for the confederation. Mali took over the presidency of the union for one year. The recent creation of the Confederation of Sahel States is “a great turning point” in the lives of the people of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, a senior Malian official said in an interview with Sputnik Africa. Since the creation of the Liptako-Gourma authority (an organization uniting the three countries, created in 1970), “this was something that was foreseeable,” said Fousseynou Ouattara, the vice president of the Malian Transitional Council’s Defense and Security Commission. “But unfortunately, the previous leaders did not have enough authority, enough decision-making at their level to get rid of certain pressures and to go for this union,” Ouattara stressed. Today, we can say that the three countries of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) “have completely left the orbit of the former metropolis” and are independent “thanks to the support of true friends,” including Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran. Ouattara believes that Russia “will be able to make a great gesture” and “set up a Marshall Plan” for the AES. “I am sure that this space will be a very, very profitable market for Russian industries […] I believe that the role that Russia can play will be decisive for our future,” he stressed. Commenting on the US armed forces withdrawal from Niamey base in Niger, the Malian official said that it is “better late than never.” The US presence in Niger “has not served the Nigeriens; it has not served the fight against terrorism; it has not served the development of the country,” the vice chairman of the Malian Transitional Council’s Defense and Security Commission said. According to Ouattara, Washington “always wants to impose itself, always wants to dictate its will to others.” Now handed over to the Nigerien authorities, Air Base 101 “can be used to welcome our partners who are helping us on several levels,” he added. “I am sure that this place will not be empty. It will be a pleasure for me to see the technicians and assistants who are ready to accept our conditions for cooperation in the field of defense, in the military field,” Ouattara said. On Sunday, the US military forces pulled out of the 101 air base near the Nigerien capital of Niamey and officially handed it over to the West African country’s authorities. The transfer of the site to the Nigerien side was signed by Niger’s Chief of Staff, Mamane Sani Kiaou, and US General Kenneth Ekman. It is expected that the American side will organize the withdrawal of Agadez Air Base 201 by September 15.

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