Saying the bloc is subservient to “foreign powers,” three neighboring countries in the restive Sahel region on Sunday jointly announced their immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger also blamed the regional bloc’s alleged “deviation from its founding ideals” for their exit.
The announcement sent shockwaves through the 15-member ECOWAS, with concerns about the potential for heightened political and economic instability in the already fragile Sahel region.
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, all founding members of ECOWAS since its establishment in 1975, expressed deep dissatisfaction with the current trajectory of the group.
The bloc was initially formed to foster economic integration and cooperation among West African states.
The withdrawal statement cites multiple grievances, including ECOWAS’ “lack of concrete support in the fight against terrorism” and the imposition of sanctions on Mali’s military rulers.
The three countries claim that ECOWAS has strayed from its original goals of “economic development, social progress, and cultural integration” and is now being “manipulated by external forces.”
Founded on May 28, 1975, the regional intergovernmental organization says it works to facilitate collaboration in various sectors, including trade, finance, and security, to foster stability and development in the West African region.
Over the years, ECOWAS has played a crucial role in addressing regional challenges and promoting the well-being of its member states.