Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso Explore Political and Monetary Alliance, Signal Shift from West African Bloc

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Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are considering a political and monetary alliance, as announced by Niger’s military leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani. The move, which lacks specific details and timelines, follows the recent visit of the military leaders to each other’s countries. This potential alliance comes amid political instability in the three nations, all of which are under military rule since 2020, causing a divergence from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc’s democratic principles.

Key Points:

  • Political and Monetary Evolution:
    • General Abdourahamane Tiani emphasized the need for the alliance to evolve in the political and monetary domains, indicating a broader collaboration beyond security concerns.
  • Name and Regional Isolation:
    • The three countries have named their prospective union the “Alliance of Sahel States (AES).” If they decide to abandon the West African monetary union and adopt a new currency, it could lead to further isolation from the larger West African region. Currently, they use the West African CFA franc, pegged to the euro.
  • Military Juntas and ECOWAS Dispute:
    • Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are governed by military juntas that seized power through coups in 2020, creating a discord with ECOWAS, which urges a return to democratic rule. The potential alliance signals a divergence from ECOWAS’s political and economic framework.
  • Common Currency Critique:
    • The use of the West African CFA franc has faced criticism as a relic of French colonial rule. Adopting a new currency could be part of the vision for the Alliance of Sahel States.
  • Burkina Faso’s Vision:
    • Burkina Faso’s military leader, Ibrahim Traoré, shared his vision for closer ties with Mali and Niger. He described the Alliance of Sahel States as initially a defense alliance but with plans to evolve into an economic alliance and more.
  • Financial Measures Proposed:
    • In November, finance ministers of the three nations issued a joint statement recommending the establishment of a committee of experts to study the question of an economic and monetary union. Other proposed measures include the creation of a joint stabilization fund and investment bank.

Conclusion: The exploration of a political and monetary alliance by Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso marks a significant geopolitical development in the West African region. The potential shift away from ECOWAS principles and the consideration of a new currency underscore the complexities of regional dynamics, reflecting the ongoing impact of political transitions and power shifts in these nations. The development will be closely watched for its implications on political stability and economic cooperation in the region.

BD

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