Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali, following the failure of its military rulers to transition to democracy.
It should be recalled that the bloc imposed stiff sanctions on Mali in January after the military government said it would not organise democratic elections the following month as initially planned.
ECOWAS Commission President, Jean Claude Kassi Brou told a news conference on Sunday that the sanctions will be lifted immediately. Borders with Mali will reopen and regional diplomats will return to Bamako.
“However, the heads of state decided to maintain individual sanctions, and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS, until the return to constitutional rule,” Kassi Brou said.
According to reports, the sanctions have crippled Mali’s economy, raising humanitarian concerns amid widespread suffering. The country has defaulted on more than $300m of its debt due to the sanctions, which cut it off from the regional financial market and the regional central bank.