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Recent studies has revealed that Financial sanctions imposed against Mali by the West African regional bloc in light of the 18 August coup d’etat will only serve to further the hardship of the Malian people, according to critics of the move to lock Mali out of international financial transactions.

“We are a people and to sanction the people, it’s true to harm them, the people aren’t responsible for what happened,” said Imam Mahmoud Dicko, one of the leaders of the M5-RFP opposition group, the 5 June Movement – Rally of Patriotic Forces.

“A prolonged financial lockdown will asphyxiate the Malian economy,” said Ndongo Samba Sylla, an economist at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, pointing to Mali’s trade with neighbouring countries within the West African Monetary Union (WAMU).

“35.6% of all Malian imports come from WAMU countries, especially Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, two countries that will therefore be hit indirectly by the financial lockdown,” Sylla told RFI.

Sylla also raises questions over the legitimacy of sanctions by Ecowas, a 15-country regional political grouping, and their implementation by BCEAO, the central bank for the eight countries of WAMU.

“Why would BCEAO, a central bank said to be politically neutral and independent from its member states, enforce sanctions decided not by the WAMU but by Ecowas,” said Sylla, who has published research on the West African CFA currency.

According to, Mali’s agricultural sector has already begun to feel the impact of the coup d’etat and restrictions on trade, with livestock sales hit and difficulties importing feed and supplies.



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