ECOWAS heads of state and government are meeting on Sunday, December 10, at the body’s summit. Among the topics on the agenda are the ongoing transitions in Mali, Burkina and Guinea – the three suspended member countries of the body – but there will also be numerous discussions on Niger. The country is under sanctions and deposed president Mohamed Bazoum remains detained. An important economic aspect must also be mentioned.
Published on: 12/10/2023 – 04:32
Arriving in the lobby of an Abuja hotel, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé headed for the elevator. Behind him, we recognize his aide-de-camp, a briefcase in his hand. In this small suitcase, there is in particular the crisis exit plan proposed by the soldiers of Niamey: the duration of the transition, the fate reserved for the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum or even the sanctions which are hitting Niger hard, reports our special envoy to Abuja. , Serge Daniel.
General Abdourahamane Tiani made these proposals via the Togolese head of state, who received it in Lomépeu before the Abuja summit.
In the same hotel in the Nigerian capital, a little further away, another famous figure: that of Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, prime minister of the deposed Nigerian president. Unless there is a last minute change, it is he and not the representative of the ruling junta who will sit in the chair and behind the Nigerien flag.
The laborious transitions in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea will also be other political subjects on the table. In Bamako, the date of the presidential election should in principle be known quickly, which would be a good point, analyzes a diplomat.
In the case of Burkina Faso and Guinea, the heads of state or their representatives will discuss the duration of political transitions and the place given locally in the debate to legally created political groups.
NGOs call for exemption from sanctions for humanitarian aid
With their crisis exit plan, the soldiers of Niamey wish in particular sanctions targeting Niger are lifted. These sanctions make humanitarian distribution in Niger practically impossible : several thousand trucks are blocked at the country’s borders, while 4.3 million people are stranded in urgent need of helpaccording to the signatories.
In this context, a group of 11 NGOs operating in Niger – including Action Against Hunger and Oxfam – are requesting a humanitarian exemption from the sub-regional organization’s sanctions. This exemption was reminded by the commission at the end of August to three border countries (Togo, Benin, Nigeria). But in the absence of a clear legal framework and inclusion in the legal framework of these sanctions, aid has great difficulty reaching humanitarian workers, whose programs run slowly.
According to Mohammed Chikhaoui, the representative of international NGOs in Niger, the consequence of the absence of this exemption is that “ Products needed for humanitarian aid – whether medicines, food or nutritional assistance for malnourished children – are considered ordinary goods and therefore do not benefit from a special pass for be able to enter Niger. »
Mohammed Chikhaoui, the representative of international NGOs in Niger, deplores that “ so far, only six humanitarian trucks have been able to cross the border, demonstrating that the only corridor through Burkina Faso is not viable.
Read alsoNGOs struggle to deliver their humanitarian aid to Niger
Inflation, security and the common currency project
On the economic front, West African leaders will have to look into inflation which is hitting most countries in the region. Several economies are in great pain. They could decide on common measures, envisaged during the last Council of Ministers of the West African economic community, reports our correspondent in Abuja., Moses Gomis.
Impossible for heads of state to ignore the security situation, with these armed groups striking the Sahel and Nigeria. But terrorist movements which are now spilling over into coastal countries. Leaders will have to read a report written by the region’s intelligence services. More than 10 million ECOWAS inhabitants are now either refugees or internally displaced.
THE common ecological currency project should also be addressed. Last year, a report that was never leaked was presented to the conference of heads of state. This document proposed different scenarios taking into account the realities and economic weight of each Member State. The issue on December 10 is whether a timetable will finally be launched for a currency for the 15 West African countries.