The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has convened an emergency meeting to address pressing issues across the region.
The extraordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) follows President Macky Sall’s sudden decision to delay elections in Senegal, just a week after Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger declared they were quitting the bloc.
The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council said ministers would gather to “discuss current security and political issues in the region.”.
It remains unclear whether representatives from the four countries being discussed are attending.
Among the key concerns are the political turmoil in Senegal and ongoing tensions with military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
The gathering in Abuja, Nigeria, will see foreign ministers deliberating on the current security and political challenges facing West Africa. While the attendance of the Senegalese minister remains unconfirmed, the focus is on finding solutions to the region’s complex issues.
ECOWAS has faced criticism for its handling of recent events, including the postponement of Senegal’s presidential election. Despite urging Dakar to adhere to the original electoral timetable, doubts linger over the organization’s effectiveness in influencing member states.
The credibility of ECOWAS is under scrutiny, especially following the coup in Niger last July. Calls for military intervention have waned, leaving former President Mohamed Bazoum detained without reinstatement, raising concerns about the organization’s efficacy in addressing political upheavals.
The postponement of Senegal’s election adds another layer of crisis, highlighting ECOWAS’s perceived limitations. Djidenou Steve Kpoton, an independent political consultant from Benin, emphasized ECOWAS’s apparent inability to navigate the evolving situation, underscoring the challenges ahead for the regional body.
Other analysts said they had confidence in the bloc’s long-term ability to deal with regional problems through mediation. But with its reputation at stake, ECOWAS’s handling of the latest political upheaval is being closely watched.
ECOWAS was formed in May 1975 in Lagos. The only other member to withdraw before now was Mauritania in 2000.