WATCH | West African bloc may lift Mali sanctions soon, says envoy

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • West African leader may lift economic sanctions against Mali once and interim president is inaugurated.
  • Mali's imports have slumped 30% since its neighbours closed borders and halted financial flows. 
  • It's unclear whether or not ECOWAS would agree with Monday's nomination of former defence minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president. 


West African leaders may lift painful economic sanctions against Mali once an interim president is inaugurated on Friday in the wake of the Aug. 18 military coup, the bloc's envoy said, praising the junta's leadership.

The comments suggest the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could accept the candidates picked this week to lead the transition of power, although they do not have the fully civilian background the bloc had demanded.

The easing of sanctions would be a relief for Mali, whose imports have slumped 30% since its neighbours closed borders and halted financial flows after the ouster of President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita.

"I am very happy with what is happening now in Mali. The young soldiers who have taken power are doing a job in line with what the (ECOWAS) leaders wanted," said Nigeria's former president, Goodluck Jonathan, after landing in Bamako for talks as head of a delegation from the bloc.

It had not previously been clear if ECOWAS would agree with Monday's nomination of former defence minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president, particularly as the leader of the junta that seized power, Colonel Assimi Goita, is set to be vice president.

But Jonathan told journalists: "I hope that after the inauguration of the president on Friday the sanctions will be lifted."

International powers feared the coup could further destabilise the country and undermine a joint fight against Islamist insurgents there and in the wider Sahel region.

Underscoring the insecurity, three Malian soldiers were killed on Wednesday when militants ambushed their patrol in Mopti region near the border with Burkina Faso, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Malian Council of Shippers said the country faced economic crisis if the ECOWAS sanctions were not eased.

"In the coming days stocks will be exhausted, and we will see supply disruptions, production stoppages, layoffs, a paralysis of economic activity," the group's president, Ousmane Babalaye Daou, said in an interview with Reuters.

Mali imports 5 million tonnes of goods every year, from woven cotton to cement, some of which arrive at ports across West Africa and are trucked hundred of miles inland.

Stockpiles have cushioned the blow so far, but new orders from Asia or Europe take up to two months to arrive, Daou said.

Essential imports, including petrol, food and medicine, are exempt.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
46% - 7466 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 8595 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.19
(-0.10)
ZAR/GBP
21.11
(-0.12)
ZAR/EUR
19.19
(-0.12)
ZAR/AUD
11.55
(-0.13)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.14)
Gold
1901.55
(+0.01)
Silver
24.57
(+0.10)
Platinum
902.03
(+0.40)
Brent Crude
41.85
(-1.66)
Palladium
2378.04
(+0.61)
All Share
55339.58
(+0.99)
Top 40
50692.28
(+0.83)
Financial 15
10790.70
(+3.99)
Industrial 25
74905.70
(+1.05)
Resource 10
52561.57
(-0.49)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo