On Tuesday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) lifted sanctions imposed on Mali following a military coup which led to the removal of the elected government. The ousting of former president Ibrahim Keita by soldiers is due to months of mass protests against his “inept rule.”  

Mali has been plagued by an eight-year conflict which birth several armed groups coupled with insecurity in the country. The insecurity spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, resulting to deaths, poverty and tension between ethnic groups in the region.

Following the removal of Keita, ECOWAS on August 20 imposed tough sanctions on Mali. The sanctions included border closures, ban on commercial trade and financial flows, with the exception of basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.

This led Mali’s military junta to call on the government for a return to democratic process within 18 months. In response, the government formed a committee that is headed by retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president and Moctar Ouane as the Prime Minister. 

Mali’s new Prime Minister on Monday October 5, announced the full formation of the government consisting 25 ministers, out of which four are military officials, appointed in defence, security, territorial administration and national reconciliation units. The transitional government also stopped a measure that could have given Colonel Assimi Goita the power to potentially replace Ndaw if ever he was incapacitated. 

In respect to the appointment, ECOWAS lifted the sanction placed on the country due to its “significant advances” toward a civil rule. The regional bloc was impressed with the transitional government, as it estimates a fair amount of civilians were part of the newly designated 25 ministers.

ECOWAS is calling on bilateral partners to resume support to Mali in a declaration signed by ECOWAS current chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, stating “the bloc has now taken into account notable advances towards constitutional normalisation.” 

The regional bloc further urged the transitional government to release all remaining detainees arrested during the August 18 coup.

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