- The military junta officials had been in power since the August 19 coup.
- Following the appointment, all eyes are on ECOWAS.
- Sanctions against Mali include trade restrictions and include a ban on trade and financial flows.
Mali’s new interim president, Bah Ndaw, signed a decree appointing the former foreign minister, Moctar Ouane, as the nation’s new prime minister. The appointment was announced on Sunday, two days after the president’s swearing-in ceremony, and following a meeting on Saturday with the military junta.
The military junta officials had been in power since the August 19 coup. Prior to his appointment, Moctar Ouane has been the delegate for Peace and Security since 2016 at the Commission of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA), which is based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Ouane also previously served as Mali’s representative to the United Nations and diplomatic advisor to the country’s presidency. Following the appointment, all eyes are on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had promised to lift sanctions imposed on Mali on condition that it appoints a civilian prime minister.
ECOWAS’ fifteen countries— namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo– had imposed sanctions on Mali on August 20, following the August 18 military coup, which overthrew the nation’s former president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The sanctions were designed to lobby for a swift restoration of civilian rule, but also to dissuade citizens of other African countries from following Mali’s example. Ivory Coast and Guinea were the main supporters of adopting a hard line against the insurgents.
The reason could be linked to the fact that their citizens also protested, sometimes even violently, against their respective presidents, Alassane Ouattara and Alpha Condé. Consequently, they would not want the West African bloc to show weakness in the face of power takeovers such as that of the Malian army.
Sanctions against Mali include trade restrictions and include a ban on trade and financial flows. However, these do not restrict the movement of basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, fuel or electricity.
Bah Ndaw had appealed to ECOWAS, asking for the sanctions to be lifted, on the occasion of the ceremony of 22 September in the Malian capital, Bamako, during celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the African country’s national independence.
The establishment of a transitional government was urgent in Mali, also due to an unstable internal situation. Before the coup d’état, demonstrations and protests had been going on in the west African state for months calling for the resignation of the now ex-president due to corruption cases and the progressive worsening of security conditions in many areas of the country.
Mali’s national security situation is also tense. On September 9, a group of Islamist militants killed 3 Malian soldiers and destroyed two vehicles in an attack near Alatona, in the Segou region of central Mali. Many other regions remain under the control of local jihadist groups.