West African Juntas Form Confederation in Break With Regional Bloc

West African Juntas Form Confederation in Break With Regional Bloc

Article content

(Bloomberg) — Military leaders from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso inched further away from their West African neighbors, forming a confederation aimed at reinforcing political and economic integration.

The move — effectively dividing West Africa into opposing alliances of democracies and of military rulers — comes after the juntas independently cut military ties with France and the US. They have also reinforced cooperation with Russia, Iran and Turkey following military takeovers in recent years.

Article content

The forming of a confederation, which follows the creation of a similar Alliance of Sahel States in September, aims to facilitate the “free movement of people and goods,” reinforce military cooperation and create a regional investment bank and stabilization fund, the military leaders said in a joint statement following a summit in Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday. The countries also plan to pool their joint assets for strategic mining, energy and infrastructure projects, according to the statement. 

“Our people have irrevocably turned their backs on the regional bloc,” Niger’s junta leader General Abdourahamane Tiani said at the start of the summit, which comes a day before leaders from the Economic Community of West African States are set to meet in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. 

The military-ruled countries earlier this year announced their exit from Ecowas, the 48-year-old regional bloc that shares a common currency, bond market and free movement of goods and people in western Africa. 

The junta leaders — Mali’s Col. Assimi Goita, Burkina Faso’s Capt. Ibrahim Traore and Tiani — criticize the regional bloc for failing to assist them in their fight against a sprawling Islamist insurgency that has engulfed the three Sahel states in recent years.

See also  J. M. Smucker Recalls Some Jif Peanut Butter Products

(Updates with details on the federation’s plans in third paragraph.)

Share this article in your social network

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *