Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali Forge Ahead with Tri-State Confederation Plan


The governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, all under military leadership, have announced their intention to move forward with the formation of a confederation, according to statements from the Malian foreign ministry on Thursday. This development comes as the three nations deepen their connections through an alliance, posing a challenge to broader integration efforts across West Africa.

Recent reports reveal that the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger declared their withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS on January 28. In a joint statement, the leaders emphasized that this decision to exit the Economic Community of West African States was a “sovereign” one, to be executed promptly.

Furthermore, the leader of Niger’s military junta, Abdourahamane Tchiani, reiterated on Monday their commitment to remaining outside of the regional bloc, ensuring that none of the Sahel nations would seek reentry.

According to Reuters, during a meeting in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, the three countries’ ministers affirmed their collective determination to depart from ECOWAS and pursue collaboration under the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) agreement. In an online statement, the Malian foreign ministry elaborated that they have reiterated their dedication to advancing the AES and establishing the Tri-State Confederation.

While specifics regarding the operational framework of the proposed confederation remain undisclosed, the group has signalled a commitment to addressing political, economic, and security interests. These efforts are particularly pertinent as the region contends with a protracted battle against Islamist insurgents, which has led to significant destabilization.

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Last November, finance ministers from the three nations announced their intention to explore the possibility of establishing a monetary union. Additionally, high-ranking officials from each country have expressed varying support for abandoning the CFA franc, the common currency of West Africa.

The military governments’ decisions to sever longstanding military ties with France, their former colonial ruler, have further reshaped the regional landscape. This move has diminished France’s influence in the Sahel and posed challenges to international efforts aimed at combating militants associated with groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State.

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