Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

ECOWAS: An organization of extraordinary summit, strong mobilization against Jihadism

Article from AFRIC Editorial
Since the events of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, the word terrorism has gained international symbolic significance whose mere pronunciation crosses borders to raise the concerns of the entire world community. Whether in America, Europe, or Africa, terrorism derives its principles from an unlawful resort to violence against individuals or property in order to force and intimidate states and societies for political demands. Expressed most time in social, economic or religious terms, it has become a major issue whose struggle must be permanent.

As part of the logic of non-justification of acts of terrorism for whatever reason, the Ghanaian Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a famous speech delivered before the General Assembly of the organization on 24 September 2001 expressed the need to fight this scourge with the greatest energy.  From this statement, it was clear that there is no doubt that the world must oppose terrorism to an energetic and elaborate action, a comprehensive long-term strategy to overcome the scourge. Except that since the announcement of these measures and despite all the means deployed to effectively combat the phenomenon, terrorism has continued to be exported, even reaching the most remote areas such as that of the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS).

To effectively combat the phenomenon and thus eradicate it completely, the ECOWAS states have understood the need for proactive initiatives whose axes of deployment are very often organized during summits and strategic conferences. The latest, the extraordinary summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Saturday, September 14, 2019, was laying the groundwork in the sea, noting the alarming deterioration of the security situation in West Africa, which is increasingly combining with the spectrum of spread to coastal countries. The leaders’ call launched at this summit put on the agenda three essential points which consisted of the adoption of several strong measures of struggle such as the establishment of a plan of priority actions of fight over five years which, at the end, should make it possible to definitively and completely control the scourge.

Adoption of an action plan to mobilize financial resources

The importance of having genuine financial resources to fight effectively against jihadism is not just an idea of ​​ECOWAS. It has its origins in the very essence of the war that feeds on the expenses that must be garnered to provide men with food and weapons. To clear the question of the need to mobilize significant resources to carry out this war against jihad, the scale of the conflict and the demand for the organization of this extraordinary summit were urgently raised as soon as it was opened. Summit by the president of the ECOWAS commission, the Ivorian Jean-Claude Brou. To set the scene, it evoked the 2,200 jihadist attacks recorded in the last four years in the sub region, the 11,500 dead, the thousands wounded, the millions displaced, the exacerbation of inter-communal conflicts in the Sahel, the considerable reduction in economic activity. In his wake, recalling that the escalation of violence and the existence of threats now cross-border had triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Sahel zone, the Burkinabé President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, invited his peers to consider the threat in the Sahel face as the springboard that should allow them to have a real fund of war capable of thwarting all the hype and propaganda of Jihad in the Sahelian zone.

Faced with all these well-founded demands and the urgency that had been raised, the leaders of ECOWAS had seen fit to come out with a salutary solution. At the end of the summit, the president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, announced a gigantic mobilization of a plan of action and mobilization of funding resources up to a billion dollars over four years. Except that the collection of these funds, which must be used to strengthen the operational capacities of the national armies as well as joint forces such as the G5 Sahel or the multinational mixed force of the Lake Chad basin still poses problems as to its practical modalities. Several questions remained unresolved as to the practical arrangements for collecting these funds. As an exit solution to this problem, it was argued that the plan and its budget, which should only use internal resources, will be presented and endorsed in December at the next ECOWAS summit in Abuja. But already according to some information, it appears that half of this sum, or $ 500 million will be disbursed by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). For the remaining sum, according to a West African minister, a technical committee will meet soon to specify its financing method, which from the outset should focus on community levies.

But already, Moussa Faki Mahamat, acting Chair of the AU Commission, for his contribution on the issue had militated before the closure of the summit for the UN to set up mandatory contribution systems of its member states. The president of the ECOWAS commission, he advocated to fill the remaining margin, an individual contribution from each country in the zone and countries invited to the summit, such as Mauritania, Chad and Cameroon, which are member countries of the Lake Chad basin.

Claim for a more offensive mandate from MINUSMA

In addition to setting up an action plan and mobilizing funds to be used to finance the fight against terrorism in the Sahel zone, the Ouagadougou Extraordinary Summit will also have served for the ECOWAS countries call for more offensive participation by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, which has 13,000 troops in the sub region. The G5 Sahel forces are not enough, so this mandate should be used to find new, more efficient and more effective means of coordination. To do this, the international community must help in this direction because it has duties vis-à-vis the Sahel since it is it that is at the root of the Libyan crisis and therefore the stagnation of terrorism in the sub region. For President Mahamadou Issoufou, the involvement of the international community with this new mandate with enhanced prerogatives must be concrete, because it can no longer deflect its eyes by ignoring the slump it has brought in the sub-region. It must therefore assume its responsibilities.

Kofi Annan, at the time, thus confirmed this position in press release SG / SM / 7977 of 1 October 2001 in which he invited the United Nations to set up a coalition of forces center with the international community to develop measures that governments should take, individually and collectively, to combat terrorism at the global level.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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