Ecowas' future in jeopardy after Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso leave group

The withdrawal of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso from the West African economic bloc triggered strong reactions among the group's members, with some promising to reverse the Sahel countries' decision before it is too late. But some are already questioning whether the organisation can survive the split.

Mali and Burkina Faso sent "formal notice" of their withdrawal from the West African blocEcowas on Monday. Niger followed on Tuesday.

The notes came from the military regimes in all three countries, who had announced plans to withdraw from the bloc on Sunday, accusing it of posing a threat to their sovereignty.

The main reason for the withdrawal appears to have been the heavy sanctions imposed by the regional group on the three countries following the military coups that overthrew elected civilian governments.

Ecowas officially replied in a statement that it was awaiting "formal and direct notification" from the countries.

But most members are already trying to undo the withdrawal, especially Africa's giant Nigeria, the most populated nation on the continent, which currently presides tthe bloc.

A weaker Ecowas, a stronger AES?

If the three juntas do leave Ecowas, the economic group would lose important contributors, notably in cattle and food, as former Benin's prime minister Lionel Zinsou told RFI.

Read more on RFI English

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