The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) risk disintegrating following the decision by Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to withdraw from the regional bloc, the dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Prof Vladimir Antwi-Danso, has said.

“The implications are dire, if these three countries contiguous as they area and are able to really have a formidable union, there is the possibility that other states might join them,” Antwi-Danso said.

“It will also means that, any other member of the rest of ECOWAS who would want to trade with that new union will be taken as a third country … and you know when you fragment trade that way, then we are killing ECOWAS,” he said.

Antwi- Danso added “Security wise, it is also not good, because then, they form one union with the common external tarrifs, and then movement between that union and ECOWAS and UEOMA, is like the fragmentation is so difficult , that ECOWAS has to use diplomacy to bring them back other than that I see the total disintegration of ECOWAS.

The three West African junta-led states on Sunday (28 January) announced they are immediately leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional economic bloc that has been urging them to return to democratic rule.

The decision by the three countries, announced in a joint statement read out on Niger national television, is a blow to the bloc’s regional integration efforts after it suspended the three countries following military takeovers.

Since the coups and despite the sanctions, negotiations and threats of military intervention, the leaders of the three countries have failed to provide a clear timetable to return to constitutional rule.

Meanwhile a communique issued by ECOWAS on Sunday (28 January), said it is not officially aware of the withdrawal adding that it will soon make further pronouncement on the issue as the situation evolves.

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