West Africa Braces for Impact as Sahel States Move to Exit ECOWAS

Economic governance
Wednesday, 10 July 2024 16:37
West Africa Braces for Impact as Sahel States Move to Exit ECOWAS

(Togo First) - With the imminent withdrawal of the AES countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) from ECOWAS, observers there are growing concerns about the potential consequences of their exit from the regional economic community.

ECOWAS authorities expect the withdrawal to impact the free movement of people and goods significantly. Citizens of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger could soon need visas to travel to ECOWAS member states. 

"The withdrawal of Niger, Mali, and Burkina from ECOWAS will affect the travel and immigration conditions of the citizens of these three countries," stated Omar Aliew Touré, president of the ECOWAS commission, at the 65th Community summit on July 7.

“They will need to go through visa procedures before traveling within the sub-region and can no longer reside or set up businesses freely under ECOWAS facilities, being subject to various national laws instead,” Touré added.

Also, using a common passport and biometric identity card for travel within the ECOWAS community space could be affected. Other ECOWAS citizens could also need a visa to visit the three AES States.

Economic Impacts 

Economically, the withdrawal of the AES could “end or halt” projects and programs implemented by the ECOWAS Commission in these three countries. According to Aliew Touré, these projects are valued at over $500 million. This would also pose challenges for cooperation with regional financial institutions like EBID and BOAD.

In the meantime, ECOWAS remains “open” to discussions. Togo and Senegal’s Leaders, Faure Gnassingbé and Bassirou Diomaye Faye were recently appointed to facilitate these discussions. 

It is worth noting that the AES countries have recently announced plans to create an investment bank and a stabilization fund for the Sahel, moving further away from ECOWAS. 

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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