Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso move to form confederation

The three countries under military juntas had created an alliance in September for 'mutual benefits' in areas of defence and economy.

The foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have recommended the creation of a confederation as part of a long-term goal of uniting the West African neighbours within a federation.

Mali and Burkina, ruled by juntas who seized power in coups in 2020 and 2022 respectively, rushed to back Niger’s military rulers when they ousted elected president Mohamed Bazoum in July.

They created a pact, the Alliance of Sahel States, setting up closer economic ties and mutual defence assistance if the sovereignty or territorial integrity of a member is threatened.

‘Great potential’

In a joint statement following a two-day meeting in Mali’s capital Bamako, the foreign ministers spoke of the “great potential for peace, stability, diplomatic strength and economic development that a strengthened political alliance offers”.

“The ministers… guided by the ambition to ultimately achieve a federation uniting Burkina, Mali and Niger recommend the creation of a confederation to the heads of state of the Alliance of Sahel States,” the statement said late on Friday.

No details have been given yet on the structure of the proposed confederation and how it will work.

Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said the conclusions will be submitted to their heads of state, who are due t o meet in Bamako at an unspecified date, AFP news agency reports.

Political and economic integration

The military regimes have also formed close ties against international pressure and long-running armed insurgencies raging in the three countries.

The countries’ economy and finance ministers last month recommended creating a stabilisation fund, an investment bank and a committee that would study an economic and monetary union, the statement added.

The Bamako meeting aimed to flesh out the workings of the new alliance, with the ministers emphasising the importance of diplomacy, defence and development “to consolidate political and economic integration”.

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