On January 30, the African Union (AU) issued a call for dialogue between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and three member countries – Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso – that have expressed their intention to leave the regional bloc. The decision to exit ECOWAS, announced by the trio on Sunday, deals a setback to the bloc’s efforts toward regional integration, especially as they had been suspended earlier due to coups in these countries. The AU, supporting ECOWAS’ endeavors to restore democracy, expressed deep regret about the withdrawal announcement and emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to preserve ECOWAS unity and strengthen African solidarity.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
In a statement, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged intensified dialogue between ECOWAS leadership and the three countries. He conveyed the AU’s readiness to assist in the process. Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger formally notified the ECOWAS Commission of their decisions to withdraw on January 29. According to ECOWAS treaty provisions, member states desiring to withdraw must provide a written one-year notice. This implies that the actual departure from the 15-member bloc could take some time, allowing room for negotiations.
The trio’s move to distance themselves from ECOWAS underscores the prevailing instability in the region, where military forces are grappling with challenges posed by Islamist militants, especially following power seizures in various countries. The AU’s call for dialogue signals a diplomatic effort to address the situation and maintain regional cooperation despite the setbacks.