On 21 November 2022, Mali’s interim prime minister, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, issued a statement on social media announcing the government’s decision ‘to ban, with immediate effect, all activities carried out by [French] NGOs operating in Mali’. This announcement came a few days after the French government cut Official Development Aid (ODA) to Mali, alleging that Mali’s government is ‘allied to Wagner’s Russian mercenaries’ (referring to the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group). Colonel Maïga called the French claims ‘fanciful allegations’ and a ‘subterfuge intended to deceive and manipulate national and international public opinion for the purpose of destabilising and isolating Mali’. This is the latest expression of a new mood that has gripped the areas of northern Africa where France once wielded colonial rule.
Climate change is affecting nations in a disproportionate manner with tropical low-income countries with a lesser share in emissions bearing the brunt in comparison to wealthy nations that are more responsible for global warming. A research paper published in Science Advances recently estimated the economic loss faced by countries due to climate change over a period of 20 years. From 1992 to 2013, the global economy suffered losses amounting to around $5 trillion-$29 trillion due to global warming. But the insurmountable global loss in terms of economy, the research suggests, was not equally shared. Worryingly, the national income of low-income tropical countries declined by around 6.7% while wealthy nations suffered a decline of only about 1.5%.
After a nine year long occupation, French troops have completed their withdrawal from Mali. Mass-demonstrations calling for removal of French troops from Mali have been recurring, especially since 2020, often mobilizing hundreds of thousands people. In February this year, when French president Emmanuel Macron announced that French forces would withdraw in the next four to six months, celebrations broke out across the country. We look at the record of the French in Mali and what lies ahead for the country.
On May 2, 2022, a statement was made by Mali’s military spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga on the country’s national television, where he said that Mali was ending the defense accords it had with France, effectively making the presence of French troops in Mali illegal. The statement was written by the military leadership of the country, which has been in power since May 2021. Colonel Maïga said that there were three reasons why Mali’s military had taken this dramatic decision. The first was that they were reacting to France’s “unilateral attitude,” reflected in the way France’s military operated in Mali and in the June 2021 decision by French President Emmanuel Macron to withdraw French forces from the country “without consulting Mali.”
The recent increased frequency of coups in West Africa or what some have called ‘coup contagion ’ are mere symptoms of deeper problems that are rooted in a combination of factors. Together they have dialectically combined to produce a general climate of increased instability, insecurity, violence and suffering of the masses of people just trying to make a living. Several of the coups have been regarded as ‘popular’ by some because they represent (at least so far) a welcomed change from incompetent corrupt governments. Some populations in Mali and Burkina Faso are desperate for a government and force that can mitigate terrorist criminal violence perpetrated by non-state actors which at the same time can be trusted to provide for their needs, even if those coup leaders may not necessarily be altruistic, but to some extent self-interested.
While the U.S. Army School of the Americas is infamous for training right-wing guerrilla forces across Latin America, less well-known are the Pentagon’s military training programs in Africa, including the Flintlock exercises for the G5 Sahel nations, nearly all of which have experienced military coups in the last 13 years.