December 7, 2022

The Political Chronicle

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ECOWAS sanctions “a stumbling block for Mali and its neighbors”

Since January 9, Mali has been subject to sanctions, restricting trade with its ECOWAS partners to basic needs only. Situation that greatly affects the economy of the country, but also its closest partners.

In conflict with Malian regime Since coming to power in the August 2020 coup, the Economic Community of West African Nations (ECOWAS) has taken a new step on January 9th.

ECOWAS ordered, condemning the interim officials for not keeping their promises regarding the organization of the elections. Border closure With Mali and its member states a Economic and financial sanctions.

The Central Bank of West Africa (BCEAO) suspended financial aid to Mali and froze its assets, greatly reducing the state’s investment potential.

To better understand the implications of these sanctions for Mali and the subcontinent, France 24 spoke to Tierno Theon, an economist and lecturer at UCAD at the Czech Anti Diop University in Docker.

France 24: These sanctions are the largest sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS against the military regime since the military came to power. What definite effects are they having on Mali today? ?

Tierno Dion: Mali is a large, landlocked country with no maritime border and is largely dependent on imports. These pass through its five borders and especially through the two largest ports in the region, Dakar and Abidjan.

The immediate use of these restrictions, from January 9, had a strong impact on the transport sector as many orders were blocked in traffic. Hundreds of trucks travel daily on the Dakar-Bamako axis, one of Mali’s main distribution routes.

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If basic needs such as food, fuel or medicine Nearly half is due to imports, Still recognized as being in circulation, is completely barred from second-hand cars, computer equipment or transport equipment imported from Europe through ports, many of which are essential for Mali’s economy, such as cement and iron.

We are already seeing a rush on some commodities, which could lead to higher inflation if the situation persists. The freezing of state assets and central bank financing for Mali will lead to a shortage of liquidity and a default on payments.

Which business partners are most affected by these restrictions? ? Can other regional actors make up for this economic loss to Mali? ?

Mali’s two partners most affected by these sanctions are Senegal and C டிte d’Ivoire. More than 20% of Mali’s imports come from Senegal and 80% of the cargo passes through Dakar. It is ahead of its leading international supplier, China, followed by C டிte d’Ivoire (about 10%).

The embargo, although supported by these two countries, represents a significant loss to their economies, especially as it loses Malian exports, especially cotton, gold or livestock, which, unlike meat, are not considered a staple food.

>> Read more: In C டிte d’Ivoire, Malian traders are affected by ECOWAS sanctions

On Mali’s side, the impact of the ban is hard to avoid. Three neighboring countries, Mauritania, Algeria and Guinea, have opened their borders.

The first option seeks to consolidate ECOWAS and, moreover, cannot show much support for the Malian government. Moreover, it is impossible to improve trade routes in the north as this area is beyond the control of the state.

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Finally, Guinea, led by the military and subject to ECOWAS sanctions, wants to play the unity card, but there really are no ways to do that. Its limited port capabilities cannot replace the Dakar and Abidjan ports, which are much larger and more competitive.

The government considers these actions to be illegal and claims to have taken legal action before recognized sub-regional, African and international organizations. Can they succeed ?

Not surprisingly, Malian officials opposed the move. The latter consider that ECOWAS has been offered a reasonable opportunity, with a maximum transition period of five years being considered completely unacceptable.

It is quite understandable that the gardener in the corner should use them because of the limited number of possible remedies and sanctions. However, if this lever can act as a tool in the context of the diplomatic stalemate between it and ECOWAS, it is unlikely that it will lead to a definitive conclusion.

Since Mali has already been excluded from the organizations of the African organization, the complaint filed in the ECOWAS Court will only be of symbolic significance. The African Union, which will have Senegal’s President Maggie Sall as president in 2022, is likely to be more receptive.

But above all, dialogue is the only way to get out of this situation. Because these barriers are as much a stumbling block for Malik as it is for its neighbors. They do not want this situation to continue: Mali and its allies must do everything possible to find a quick solution to this crisis.