ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Guinea and Mali 

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS announced the easing of sanctions on Guinea and Mali, a day after announcing a similar decision for Niger, another country under military rule.

The bloc had imposed sanctions between 2020 and 2023 following military coups in the countries. ECOWAS announced the lifting of financial and economic sanctions against Guinea and an end to restrictions on hiring Malians for professional positions in the bloc’s institutions.

This is a signal for a desire to renew dialogue

The measures on Guinea and Mali were not mentioned during the closing speech by ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray, but were included in the bloc’s closing statement. ECOWAS suspended all three countries and Burkina Faso from membership of the bloc because of military uprisings there.

The no-fly zone, border closures and asset freezes on Niger were imposed on ‘humanitarian grounds’ following last year’s coup that ousted elected leader Mohamed Bazoum. These measures have been lifted, but political and individual sanctions remain in place.

ECOWAS’ move signals a desire to renew dialogue with the military regimes among its members, after Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso announced their intention to leave the bloc.