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Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to form a federation

The foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have proposed the establishment of a confederation as a step toward their long-term objective of uniting the West African neighbours within a federation.

Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to form a federation
  • The top diplomats of the Alliance of Sahel States met in Bamako for two days.
  • The purpose of their discussions was to elaborate on the functioning of the new alliance.
  • In September, the military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger established the Alliance of Sahel States, a mutual defence pact.

Mali and Burkina, ruled by juntas who seized power in coups in 2020 and 2022 respectively, rushed to back Niger’s military rulers when they ousted elected president Mohamed Bazoum in July, AFP reported.

The top diplomats of the countries met in Bamako for two days.

The purpose of their discussions was to elaborate on the functioning of the new alliance, with the ministers stressing the importance of diplomacy, defence, and development "to consolidate political and economic integration."

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In a joint statement following the two-day meeting in Mali’s capital Bamako, the foreign ministers spoke of the “great potential for peace, stability, diplomatic strength and economic development that a strengthened political alliance offers”.

The ministers… guided by the ambition to ultimately achieve a federation uniting Burkina, Mali and Niger recommend the creation of a confederation to the heads of state of the Alliance of Sahel States,” the statement said.

Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop mentioned that the recommendations would be presented to each head of state, who are scheduled to convene in Bamako on an unspecified date.

In late November, the economy and finance ministers of the countries convened and recommended the establishment of a stabilisation fund, an investment bank, and a committee to examine an economic and monetary union.

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The political instability within the three countries has inflicted a heavy blow on their economies. For example, Niger experienced a significant 40% reduction in its budget after the coup and attendant international sanctions. The country’s debt also climbed to $8.5 million amidst ongoing political tension. Gabon and Niger’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program was also terminated by the US.

In September, the military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger established the Alliance of Sahel States, a mutual defence pact. The alliance was set up in response to international pressure for a prompt return to civilian rule, as well as the enduring jihadist insurgencies that persist in the three nations.

By February 2023, the number of deaths linked to political violence had increased by 77% in Burkina Faso and 150% in Mali compared with 2021. Burkina Faso is now the country with the highest number of victims of acts of terrorism in the world, ahead of Afghanistan.

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