ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Mali and calls for international community to follow suit

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 October 2020:

Two weeks ago, leaders of the West African regional block – ECOWAS, agreed to continue their economic embargo imposed on Mali after the country’s military leaders overthrew the government and arrested the president.

But since then, there has been a gradual return to normality, heralded by the appointment of a transition government, led by the country’s former minister of defence – retired Colonel Bah Ndaw, who is acting as interim president, and former foreign minister – Moctar Ouane as prime minister. The coup leader – Colonel Assimi Goita, is occupying the interim vice presidency.

This transition arrangement which is expected to lead to fresh elections, should last for 18 months.

Writing in a statement published today, this is what the ECOWAS leaders, led by the Ghanaian Head of State – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Photo) said:

1. In conformity with the Provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001, the Heads of State and Government took important decisions during Extraordinary Summits on 20 and 28 August 2020, following the Coup d’Etat by the military in Mali on 18 August 2020. The Coup d’Etat led to the arrest of the democratically elected President of the Republic, H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA as well as some members of the government and other officials. In line with the provisions of the Community Protocol, sanctions were imposed on Mali.

2. The Heads of State and Government noted that this Coup d’Etat occurred in the context of a socio-political crisis after the parliamentary elections of March/April 2020. This crisis took the form of violent protests organized by some political parties, civil society actors and religious groups.

3. The Heads of State and Government requested the immediate release of H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA and wish him well as he left the country.

4. The Heads of State and Government held a mini-Summit in Accra on 15 September 2020 and on this occasion met with the military leadership of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). This meeting aimed at finalizing the political Transition scheme in conformity with the decisions taken by the Extraordinary Summits held by videoconference on 28 August 2020 and by the 57th Ordinary Summit held on 7 September 2020 in Niamey, Republic of Niger.

5. During the Accra Summit, the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed the following decisions:

a. The political Transition will be civilian, in accordance with the decisions of the Authority of ECOWAS. In this regard, both the President and the Prime Minister of the transition will be civilians during the entire period.

b. The Vice-President of the Transition, provided for in the Transition Charter, shall not, under any circumstances, replace the Transition President.

c. The CNSP will be dissolved immediately after the civilian Transition is put in place.

d. The political Transition will last 18 months starting from 15 September, 2020.

e. Once a civilian led transition is put in place, ECOWAS will support the Republic of Mali towards the restoration of constitutional order, in line with its relevant Protocol.

f. Sanctions will be lifted when the Transition President and the Prime Minister are effectively designated.

6. The Heads of States and Government took note of the recent nomination and swearing-ing of Mr. Bah N’DAW as a civilian President of the Transition. They congratulate the President of the Transition and express ECOWAS Support for the implementation of his mission.

7. The Heads of State and Government also took note of the nomination of Mr. Moctar Ouane, a civilian, as Prime Minister of the Transition.

8. The nomination of the President and the Prime Minister of the Transition should lead to the formation of the government.

9. In addition, the Charter of the Transition published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Mali taking into account other Decisions of the Heads of State and Government was received by ECOWAS on October 1st, 2020. These include:

The responsibility of the Vice-President of the Transition, in charge of security and defense.

– The removal of the provision whereby the Vice-President can replace the President of the Transition.

– The provision of an 18-months Transition period.

10. Taking into consideration these important decisions for the normalization of constitutional order in Mali and in view of the need to support this process, the Heads of State and Government decide to lift the sanctions imposed on Mali. They call on all bilateral and multilateral partner to also support Mali.

11. The Heads of State and Government demand that the new Authorities of the Transition in Mali implement rapidly other decisions of the Summit, in particular the release of all officials both military and civilian arrested since 18 August 2020 and the dissolution of the CNSP.

12. The Heads of States and Government also congratulate the Mediator for progress achieved in the political normalization in Mali

Signed: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.


  1. The ECOWAS can do much better in terms of promoting trade between the region, than imposing sanctions on a member state. Next time the military steps in to force a change of government, within a member state, other members states should take all the prevailing moods, both political and economic circumstances into consideration that led to the need for the change in the first place before slapping sanctions on that country. Let us face sanctions only hurt the poor not the corrupt political class. They should not rush in to judgement against these changes especially if people have been in the streets for weeks or months demonstrating against this government that brings them nothing, but economic hardship and repression. ECOWAS SHOULD BE ON THE SIDE OF THE PEOPLE NOT ON THE SIDE OF DICTATORSHIP.

    And this policy of being on the side of the people will be greatly enhanced, if ECOWAS applies this principle across the board. So when Malians were out in the streets, the irony was not lost on them, Nigeria the powerhouse in the region was quick to promote dialogue between President Keita and the M5 opposition under the leadership of its former president Goodluck Jonathan. Not long ago they were quick to put pressure on the former Gambian dictator Yayah Jammeh, to relinquish power. ECOWAS has to apply the same principles on the problems that arise in the region. The idea of sanctions, will speak to the truck drivers that get stuck in our borders for days on end trying to deliver much needed goods to a sister ECOWAS member state.

    To businesses and businessmen if feels like there are permanent economic sanctions in existence throughout the sub regions. I think ECOWAS has a lot to learn from SADAC in the South and East African regions. Those countries are building infrastructures that promote trade harmonisation. That’s what is needed in West Africa. I am not a supporter of military tgovernments and also not a supporter of civilian dictatorship that does not look after the welfare of its people.

  2. There was once a dream that was the ECOWAS which we thought will be realized in a spirit of rectitude.A ambitious dream designed to bring our continent out of the dark ages into the glorious light but we were totally wrong;The ECOWAS has completely let our people down;That dream we longed and hoped for is lost and can only be whispered now folks – anything more than a Whisper,and whats left of it will vanish like a mist into thin air.Have mercy on your suffering children O Lord!

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