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10 Jul, 2023 14:51

African monetary union ends Mali’s suspension

The eight-nation bloc punished Bamako in 2022 after the military government proposed staying in power for up to five years
African monetary union ends Mali’s suspension

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) agreed on Saturday to lift its suspension of Mali. The sanction was initially imposed last year after Mali’s ruling junta postponed elections intended to restore democratic rule.

The move for Mali to rejoin the UEMOA was made at a conference in Guinea-Bissau featuring the heads of state and government from the group.

Concerning Mali, the Conference decided to lift its suspension from the Organs and Institutions of UEMOA taken on January 9, 2022,” the union said in a statement, without providing the reasons or details for the step.

Last month, Malians approved changes to the constitution that the junta and regional powers claim will pave the way for elections.

The UEMOA is made up of eight coastal and Sahelian states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo, linked by the use of a common currency.

The West African monetary union instructed all financial institutions under its authority to suspend Bamako after the military government decided to remain in power for five years following coups in 2020 and 2021.

The actions were carried out alongside sanctions imposed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which included the freezing of Malian state assets, border closures, and the suspension of non-essential financial transactions.

In March 2022, the UEMOA’s court ordered the suspension of the sanctions, which had cut the country off from regional financial markets and reportedly contributed to a $180 million debt default.

ECOWAS lifted its sanctions in July 2022, accepting the junta’s pledge to restore constitutional order with a return to civilian rule by March 2024.