ECOWAS to consider extra Mali sanctions if no progress made on elections

PUBLISHED: Mon, 13 Dec 2021 08:42:42 GMT
Felix Onuah
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari attends the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja on December 21, 2019. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP) (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

ABUJA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – West African regional bloc ECOWAS will consider additional economic sanctions on Mali if no concrete progress is made by the end of this month to prepare for fresh elections following a coup in August 2020, the group said on Sunday.

ECOWAS leaders want the junta in Mali to organise the elections by the end of February as promised, but the transitional administration has said the vote will likely be delayed by a few weeks or months due to security reasons.

“If by end of December 2021 no concrete progress is made in the preparation of the election, additional sanctions will be put in place starting 1st January 2022,” ECOWAS said in a communique after a summit of its leaders in Nigeria.

Read more: IMF chief says Omicron could dent global economic growth

Mali’s transition is seen as a test of West African leaders’ commitment to protecting democracy against a return to the frequent putsches that earned the region its reputation as a “coup belt” in the decades after colonialism.

The ECOWAS leaders also expressed concern over the use of private security companies in Mali, saying this posed a risk to the region.

Reuters reported in September that Mali’s military junta was in discussions about deploying a Russian private military contractor in Mali, which France says is not acceptable because it has its own troops in the region.

On Guinea, the regional leaders said they were concerned that three months after a coup, there was no timetable for a return to constitutional order. ECOWAS also condemned recent attacks on security forces and civilians by militants in Burkina Faso and a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update
Get the best of CNBC Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.