‘We Can’t Be Part Of A Puppet Bloc Serving Only Foreign Interests’- Burkina Faso Defends Move To Exit ECOWAS

‘We Can’t Be Part Of A Puppet Bloc Serving Only Foreign Interests’- Burkina Faso Defends Move To Exit ECOWAS

By Spy Uganda

Since Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced they would quit Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the move has prompted various reactions.

It didn’t come as complete surprise though, especially after the Niger coup last July.

The Burkinabe PM justified the decision in Ouagadougou on Thursday (Feb.01st).


“On January 28th, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger took the historic decision to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, it is a carefully considered decision which came after a thorough analysis of the institution and the potential consequences of a withdrawal,” Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambèla said.

Authorities believe ECOWAS doesn’t meet the aspirations of the Sahelian peoples anymore rendering the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) necessary.


Premier ministre Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambèla condems ECOWAS sanctions against his country, Mali and Niger and also accused the bloc of failure to assist its member states.

“Instead of an ECOWAS of the people, the organization has become a technocratic tool which ultimately deviated from the legitimate aspirations of the west African peoples.”

“For proof, we have noted ECOWAS’s indifference when our peoples were massacred, or as our fellow citizens endure humanitarian crises , or in the face of the numerous destabilization attempts our states have encountered,” he said.


Burkina Faso says it has notified the bloc of its decision.

AES countries have called on their populations to mobilize in support of the move in coming days.

The three landlocked countries have been under military coups for at least the past year. And they are each under sanctions by the West African bloc as well as suspended from the African Union (AU), both of which abhor military coups in their formative laws.

ECOWAS is an amalgamation of 15 countries in West Africa and established to promote regional integration through free movement of their people and trade.  

The bloc has come under pressure since August 2020 when the military in Mali staged a coup, removing its democratically elected leader. Amid efforts to return the country to civilian rule, the military staged a second coup within a year in 2021.

Since then, a total of six successful coups have been staged in the region, with four countries currently under military rule.

There have been at least five other failed coup bids, including two in Guinea Bissau, two in Sierra Leone and one in Gambia.

The latest undemocratic takeover of government in the region occurred in Niger in July 2023.

Both Mali and Burkina Faso, which also saw two coups in nine months, had set up transition timetables to return to civilian rule.

The leaders of the three countries in a statement released on Sunday described as injustice the sanctions imposed on their countries, vowing to leave the bloc “without delay.”

“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the organization (ECOWAS) has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” a Niger government spokesman, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, said in a joint statement read on live television in Niame.

“The organisation notably failed to assist these states in their existential fight against terrorism and insecurity,” he added.

They said in the statement that their move was a “sovereign decision”.

All three countries have been struggling to deal with militia violence and poverty.

Despite the tension between the two, the Niger leadership was hoping for a resolution of the disagreement with ECOWAS which has led to heavy sanctions on its, through talks.

Sunday’s development comes a day after an ECOWAS delegation expected in Niame failed to turn up. The bloc cited technical challenges.

The three last year announced the formation of the “Alliance of Sahel States” which they hope to use to restore stability and economic prosperity.

Relations between ECOWAS and its member states under military rule deteriorated due to estranged relations with Western nations, particularly France which has been asked out in all three countries.

France was a major source of support for the fight against the insurgencies in the region. Its withdrawal has seen tension increased in the region.

But the military regimes and their supporters have accused the western nations of being behind the instability, the effects of which have spilled over to neighboring nations of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast in the larger Gulf of Guinea.

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