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ECOWAS court rules on Niger

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ECOWAS court rules on Niger

The ECOWAS Court of Justice will decide today on Niger’s appeal to lift economic sanctions imposed by ECOWAS member states.

After a coup in late July that ousted Niger’s elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Niger’s membership and imposed significant economic sanctions. They suspended commercial transactions, froze state and state enterprise assets, and halted financial aid from the ECOWAS development bank. Additionally, Nigeria cut off its power supply to Niger, which provided roughly 70% of Niger’s overall supply.

Limited regional trade and international sanctions led the Nigerien military junta to slash the government budget by around 40%, pushing the country towards a severe humanitarian crisis. Despite the junta’s local support, ECOWAS maintains a steadfast position on sanctions, insisting on the release and reinstatement of President Bazoum. Faced with few options, the junta has appealed to the court for sanctions relief, citing humanitarian concerns.

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Expect the court to rule in favor of ECOWAS, arguing the junta is not recognized and therefore lacks the right to bring the case. Short-term relations between Niger and ECOWAS are unlikely to be affected, but prolonged sanctions could undermine the junta’s local support, and therefore its stability and legitimacy.

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