ECOWAS to Lift Sanctions on Niger, Guinea

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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What You Need to Know:

A communiqué released yesterday by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), after an ‘Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political, Peace and Security Situation in the Region’ was held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The economic community, under the authority of ECOWAS Chairman and President of Nigeria, H.E. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, announced the blocs intention to lift sanctions on Niger and Guinea for ‘humanitarian reasons.’

Niger was put under economic and political sanction after a group of soldiers operating as the self-proclaimed ‘National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP)’ removed the country’s elected President, Mohamed Bazoum, from power in July 2023. 

The sanctions have had a bleak effect on Niger’s economy, with nearly 45% of the population living below the poverty line. 

Additionally, the communiqué announced its intention to lift some financial and economic sanctions on the Republic of Guinea, which has been under military rule since July 2022, most likely in reward for Colonel Mamady Doumbouya dissolving the country’s military government last week, presumably in preparation for a transition to civilian rule. Although the intent to transition has not been confirmed by Doumbouya. 

The move likely comes as a result of the announcement by Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali of their intent to withdraw from the economic bloc in late January. ECOWAS is likely attempting to dissuade the nations from leaving the bloc in order to preserve regional security. 

The communiqué stated that it maintains its calls for the release of former President Bazoum, but pledges to lift the following sanctions imposed on the Niger: 

  1. The closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger
  2. Institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger
  3. Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger
  4. Freeze of all service transactions including utility services and electricity to Niger Republic 
  5. Freeze of assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks
  6. Freeze of assets of the Niger State, State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks
  7. Suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly, EBID and BOAD
  8. Travel ban on government officials and their family members.