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Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to Create New Confederation

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to Create New Confederation

Officials from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have agreed to move forward with the formation of a confederation, according to the Malian foreign ministry on Thursday.

The decision reflects a deepening of ties among the three countries, even as it raises questions about broader integration efforts in West Africa.

This move follows their recent announcement in January 2024 of withdrawing from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a decision that has drawn concerns from the regional bloc, warning of potential challenges this withdrawal might pose.

Although Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger were among the founding members of ECOWAS in 1975, they were suspended following military coups that ousted elected civilian governments.

The establishment of procedures for the confederation aims to ensure its effective functioning and has been met with enthusiasm from the populations of the three countries, as expressed by Niger’s General Salifou Modi.

In November of the previous year, the finance ministers of these countries discussed the possibility of forming a monetary union. Additionally, high-ranking officials from all three nations have shown varying degrees of support for moving away from the common currency of West Africa, the CFA franc.

The military juntas in these countries have also severed longstanding military ties with France, their former colonial ruler. This move has diminished France’s influence in the Sahel region and has complicated international efforts to combat militant groups associated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

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