ECOWAS: How Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger exit go affect trade and travel for West Africa - BBC News Pidgin (2024)

ECOWAS: How Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger exit go affect trade and travel for West Africa - BBC News Pidgin (1)

Wia dis foto come from, Burkina Faso Presidency

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  • Author, Nkechi Ogbonna
  • Role, BBC News, Lagos

Military led Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso don further cut ties with di regional bloc, di Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). Last Saturday, di three kontries sign treaty under di newly formed Alliance for Sahelian States (AES), come emphasise dia decision to comot from di regional bloc.

Mali don dey under military rule since 2020, Burkina Faso since 2022 and Niger since 2023, and dis make Ecowas impose sanctions to force dem to return to civilian rule. In response, di three konties decide to comot from di bloc.

For more dan forty years, di Ecowas treaty guarantee free movement of pipo and goods, and allow member states to enjoy exemptions from tariffs and duties wen dem dey move goods or trade with member kontries. Dis aim to boost regional trade and integration.

But with dia exit, wetin di Sahel kontries get to lose and wetin di rest of West Africa also get to lose?

How di rest of West Africa go dey affected?

From meat to onions, some food items dey likely to become more expensive. Di Sahel kontries dey known to produce livestock and vegetables, wey dem dey supply to di rest of West Africa. Movement of food from dis kontries go attract increased costs if di three kontries no longer dey entitled to di tariff privileges wey presently dey guaranteed under Ecowas.

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E go mean say Nigerians, Ghanaians, Senegalese and essentially, di rest of West Africa go pay more for those food items di Sahel kontries typically dey supply.

Transporting dem go also become more expensive due to fresh bottlenecks, despite di existing large informal trading networks.

Di Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) na also a major project wey dey threatened by di rift. Expected to begin operations in 2030, di TSGP na a joint project between Nigeria, Niger, and Algeria. Di 4,000 km pipeline dey designed to carry up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year from Nigeria, through Niger, to Algeria wia e go link existing pipelines across di Mediterranean to Europe.

Di aim na to check energy poverty for Africa and to open di continent to a booming global gas market, but now, e dey threatened by di collapse in relations between Niger and Nigeria, wey go be on di losing end.

Di booming ports for Togo and Ivory Coast also stand to lose. Togo na di logistics and transit hub for West Africa sake of dia efficient port systems and facilities to encourage sharp-sharp movement of cargo. While di Port of Abidjan, wey be West Africa biggest port na also a major point for transhipments to West and Central Africa becos of di effective railroad system for di kontri.

Dis two ports don flourish partly becos di landlocked Sahel kontries rely on dem for exports. Di current favourable terms fit no longer exist if Ecowas privileges no longer apply to di Sahel kontries. While e fit mean say Togo and Ivory Coast go lose business with those kontries, both sides stand to lose if di Sahel kontries also no fit export.

ECOWAS: How Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger exit go affect trade and travel for West Africa - BBC News Pidgin (2)

Wia dis foto come from, ECOWAS

Wetin go happen to travelling?

Travel fit become difficult for oda West Africans wey go visit di Sahel kontries. Na for December 2000 dem introduce di Ecowas passport, and e provide di fifteen member kontries with visa-free movements within di region and function as international travel document.

Ecowas citizens get di right to live within a member kontri for up to three months, but dis fit change for those visiting kontries wey no longer be part of di regional bloc. Also, with intermarriages wey dey common especially around border areas, for instance between Nigeria and Niger, Ghana and Burkina Faso, among odas, some family members wey wan visit relatives for Sahel kontries go now require visas to gain entry and vice versa.

E go further weaken regional integration, di ease of doing business, economic development, and di continental free trade agreement.

Wetin Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger fit lose

Di three kontries dey landlocked with no access to di sea, and dis make dem dependent on dia coastal neighbours including Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria for international trade.

According to Ecowas Trade Information Systems (ECOTIS), for 2022, Mali exports total $3.91 billion, with imports of $6.45 billion, while Burkina Faso export na $4.55 billion, and import na $5.63 billion. Niger record $446.14 million in exports and $3.79 billion in imports.

For all dis trades to continue, di Sahel kontries go require access to ports of oda West African kontries, wey go attract higher costs – in tariffs and duties – if dem stop to be Ecowas members.

Presently, Benin don block access to one oil pipeline wey dey run from di Agadez region, for northern Niger to di port of Seme inside Benin, stopping di China backed 2,000km long pipeline from exporting oil. Yet, Niger suppose to use dia crude oil exports to repay a $400 million loan dem take from China. Di quarrel between Niger and Benin na a fallout of Niger refusal to reopen dia land borders following di lifting of Ecowas sanctions wey see dia neighbours closing dia borders for more dan six months.

Last Sunday, Ecowas President Omar Touray warn say to comot from di bloc fit cost di Sahel kontries funding for economic projects worth more dan $500 million wey go either dey suspended or stopped entirely.

Ecowas leaders also don express fears of regional disintegration and worse, insecurity.

Di Sahel region don dey suffer attacks from jihadist groups wey regional leaders fear say fit spread through di Sahel borders into neighbouring kontries and affect regional security.

Di Global Terrorism Index for 2022 identify di Sahel as home to di world fastest growing and most-deadly terrorist groups. Di region dey described as di new epicentre of terrorism, and e dey “compounded by high population growth, lack of adequate water and food, climate change and weak goments.”

ECOWAS: How Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger exit go affect trade and travel for West Africa - BBC News Pidgin (2024)
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