Mali’s transitional government announced, over the weekend, that the state would file a formal complaint against the sanctions imposed on the country by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Central Bank of West African States.
The harsh sanctions were imposed due to the military-backed transitional government’s proposal, who successfully conducted a coup d’état in 2020, to stay in power for up to five years. Democratic elections were set to take place on the 27th of February of this year.
In response, ECOWAS, with the backing of France and The United States of America, have closed its member states’ borders, froze access to Malian assets to the region’s central back and stopped trading with the land locked country. This has resulted in the rise of the price of basic necessities and minimised the government’s financial capacity. When addressing the issue, transitional prime minister, Chogel Maiga, stated that he believed that these sanctions were a ploy by the former settler state, France, to destabilize the country.
Ever since, there have been large scale demonstrations by Malian citizens against the sanctions and the neo colonial intervention and presence of France in the country. The sanctions have helped legitimize the transitional government as the youth and working class of Mali showed their support in droves in the streets of Bamako, Bougoni, Timbuktu. The moment has inspired a sense of unity, with the Malian flag heavily present in the protests, in the face of foreign interference.
It is clear that Interim President of Mali, Assimi Goita, has decided that his government needs more time ensure the security of the citizens in order to hold legitimate elections while simultaneously fortifying his position of power and prolonging his reign. But his alignment with Russia and China has caused France to act aggressively as their position as a global superpower rests on the political, economic and military stranglehold they enjoy in West Africa. Here’s to hoping that one day, Africans will be able to truly self-determine their futures without neo-colonial influences