In a move to respond to the recent coup d’état that took place in Niger, the Ivory Coast government has decided to suspend all imports and exports of goods from Niger.
The coup, which occurred on 26 July 2023, led to the detention of Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum by the presidential guard. General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the commander of the presidential guard, proclaimed himself the leader of the new military junta.
This is not the first time that Niger has experienced a military coup. Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has undergone four military coups, with the most recent one taking place in 2010. Additionally, there have been several coup attempts, including one in 2021 just days before the inauguration of President Mohamed Bazoum. The frequency of coups in Niger, as well as in neighbouring countries such as Guinea, Mali, Sudan, and Burkina Faso, has led to the region being referred to as the “coup belt”.
As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Niger’s recent coup has raised concerns among other member countries. ECOWAS has already suspended Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso from membership due to successful coups in recent years. Bola Tinubu, the President of Nigeria and the appointed Chairman of ECOWAS, has expressed his concern and warned that the West African sub-region will not tolerate a series of coups. Tinubu has vowed to address this issue with the African Union, as well as European, American, and British stakeholders.
The decision by the Ivory Coast government to halt the import and export of goods from Niger is seen as a response to the coup, aimed at putting pressure on the new military junta. This move is expected to have a significant impact on Niger, as Ivory Coast is one of Niger’s main trading partners. The suspension of trade between the two countries will undoubtedly have economic repercussions, affecting businesses and the livelihoods of the people.
There are several factors that have contributed to the current political instability in Niger, including the rising cost of living, perceptions of government incompetence, and corruption. These issues have fueled public dissatisfaction, leading to protests and unrest. The coup can be seen as a result of this discontent, with the military taking advantage of the discontent to seize power.
In response to the coup, there have been calls from the international community for a return to democratic governance in Niger. The suspension of trade by the Ivory Coast government is just one example of how countries in the region are taking actions to exert pressure on the military junta. The hope is that these measures will encourage a peaceful transition of power and the restoration of democracy in Niger.