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ECOWAS to Discuss Burkina Faso

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ECOWAS to Discuss Burkina Faso

ECOWAS to Discuss Burkina Faso
Photo: ABC/AP

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) will hold a summit in Accra, Ghana today to discuss sanctioning Burkina Faso following a military coup last week.

Organization representatives met with junta leader Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba this weekend after Burkina Faso’s suspension from ECOWAS and the African Union.

ECOWAS will likely impose sanctions on Burkina Faso, as it did for both Mali and Guinea following their respective coups last year, targeting junta members to avoid unfair fiscal punishment of civilians. While the move represents regional condemnation of democratic backsliding in the short term, sanctions will likely cause further distress in an already struggling economy. Past instances of military intervention in civilian politics have historically not affected security or political stability in the broader Sahel region.

Expect ECOWAS to uphold its commitment to sanctions in all three countries. Sanctions are a quick, inexpensive tool to employ—compared to pricey institutional reforms—explaining the organization’s preference for the method. Preventative measures such as governance monitoring and early warning systems will also be considered in tandem. As coups continue to unfold across the West African region, it is evident that sanctions are not a long-term solution to regional democratic instability in West Africa.

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