Mali disregards ECOWAS treaty’s one year withdrawal notice

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Mali has announced that it will not adhere to the one-year waiting period mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for withdrawal.

  • Mali says it will not adhere to the one-year waiting period mandated by ECOWAS for withdrawal.
  • ECOWAS, Niger, and Burkina Faso have not yet provided a prompt response on whether they will follow suit.
  • The countries are obligated to remain members of the bloc until 2025.

Last month, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, governed by coup-born governments, announced an immediate departure from ECOWAS, overturning years of regional integration, Reuters reported.

Despite formally notifying the ECOWAS Commission of their exit on Jan. 29, as per the treaty, the countries would be obligated to remain members until one year from that date.

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Mali’s foreign ministry, in an online statement, asserted that ECOWAS had breached its regulations by shutting its borders to Mali during the imposition of sanctions on the military regime.

What the statement said:

“Consequently, the Government of the Republic of Mali is no longer bound by the deadline constraints mentioned in Article 91 of the Revised Treaty,”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation reiterates the irreversible nature of the decision of the government of Mali to withdraw without delay from ECOWAS due to the violation by the organization of its texts, as well as the other legitimate reasons,” it said.

There was no immediate response from ECOWAS, or from Niger and Burkina Faso on whether they would do the same.

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A meeting is scheduled by ECOWAS for Feb. 8 to address the situation. The departure of the three countries is a setback for the 15-nation bloc, which had been engaging in negotiations with their military leaders to reinstate democracy.

Last week, Mali clarified that it has no intentions of exiting West Africa’s currency zone, while Burkina Faso hinted at its withdrawal after both countries, along with Niger, declared their departure from the regional political bloc as a form of protest,

Effect of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger’s exit from ECOWAS

Business Insider Africa earlier explained how the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), designed to ramp up trade within Africa and bolster the continent’s global trade standing, faces a fresh hurdle, following the news of their exit.

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Due to the exit, several African countries might be compelled to explore markets beyond the continent, making them vulnerable to the interests of countries in the Global North.

The departure of these countries, as discussed here, also raises concerns about potential humanitarian crises, with Nigeria likely to bear the brunt due to the open and porous borders it shares with Niger.

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