Burkina Faso, Guinea And Mali Republics Propose Joint Development Partnership – OpEd
Russia has consistently been assisting Republics of Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali in West African region to root out French domination. Burkina Faso and Mali are part of the Sahel-5. Russia has embarked on fighting “neo-colonialism” which it considers a barrier on its way to regain part of Soviet-era influence in and consolidate its relations with Africa.
Obviously, Russia has taken the most difficult task, reminiscent of the Cold War. It has engaged in political confrontation with Europe and the United States in Africa, which many experts considered seemingly threatens Africa’s unity. At the United Nations in March 2022, Africa was sharply divided on resolutions against Russia for invading the former Soviet republic of Ukraine.
Some argue that the best way to fight neocolonialism is to invest in the competitive sectors there. Russia, compared to other foreign players, has marginal economic footprints especially in badly infrastructural development.
Nevertheless, Russia has sought to convince Africans over the past years of the likely dangers of neo-colonial tendencies perpetrated by the former colonial countries and the scramble for resources on the continent. But all such warnings largely seem to fall on deaf ears as African leaders, in practical terms, choose development partners with funds to invest in the economy.
With the development of geopolitical situation, the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali, all ruled by military juntas have proposed a regional partnership to facilitate trade and tackle insecurity in the region, they said in a joint statement late on Thursday.
In the wake of changing conditions and challenges especially in West Africa, the ministers met in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to discuss collaboration. All three West African countries have experienced military takeovers since 2020, reversing democratic gains that had seen the region shed its tag as Africa’s coup belt.
Frustrations over governments’ inability to protect civilians from a worsening jihadist insurgency spurred some of the putsches, which have led to economic sanctions and soured relations with regional and Western allies.
Foreign ministers Olivia Rouamba for Burkina Faso, Morissansa Kouyate for Guinea and Abdoulaye Diop for Mali noted the need to set up and institutionalize a permanent coordination framework between the three countries, a very positive step in the right direction.
The Bamako Conakry Ouagadougou link will be a basis for fuel and electricity exchanges, transport links, cooperation on mineral resource extraction, rural development and trade. Simply put, these West African countries wanted to focus on the search for more effective ways to scale-up development. This further entails taking practical measures towards sustainable growth and development, improving the welfare of millions of impoverished population.
All three countries were suspended from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Africa Union (AU) as a result. ECOWAS also imposed sanctions on Guinea and Mali for dragging their feet on restoring constitutional order, which will only be lifted if ultimatums set last year are respected.
The three ministers deplored the measures and called for technical and financial support for their democratic transitions. There have been two coups in Mali since 2020, one in Guinea in 2021 and two in Burkina Faso last year. In fact, many African countries are currently looking for strategic ways to effectively address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and which forms an integral part of the African Union Agenda-2063.