ECOWAS at Risk of Disassociation After AES Countries Pull Out

© AP Photo / Olamikan Gbemiga

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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