Sanctions against Mali not good for AfCFTA – Prof Quartey

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Professor Peter Quartey, the Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), says sanctions imposed on Mali by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following the country’s coup, will affect intra trade in Africa negatively.

ECOWAS suspended Mali in May this year from the regional bloc after a second coup in nine months, following the toppling of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s administration in August 2020.

The suspension, Prof Quartey said, would not only affect regional trade, but also the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The objective of AfCFTA is the elimination or reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers amongst African countries through a single market for goods and services.

Prof Quartey said sanctioning Mali would reduce the market size, saying, “Once you have a bigger market, you can sell your products well. So if two countries with their population or market taken out, whatever is produced within the rest of the sub region or rest of the member countries cannot be sold to this other markets.

“Therefore, there is going to be a reduced demand of commodities within the initially planned group and that can have repercussions on income, foreign exchange, and the life and whatever commodities they export, if it is needed in the other countries,” he said.

Trading Economics, a global economic historical data and forecast provider, has observed that aside Mali’s main export, gold (accounting for 72 per cent of total exports), the country also exports cotton, fertilisers, oil and iron to other parts of the world, including Africa.

Also, it has been noted that its main export partner is South Africa (60 percent of exports), with Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast also benefiting from exports from Mali.

The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), an online data visualisation and distribution platform, also noted that the country annually imports cement ($130M), and broadcasting equipment ($86.1M), importing mostly from Senegal ($960M) and Cote d’Ivoire ($616M).

Prof Quartey said, “…I am not saying that they shouldn’t impose sanctions, they are needed; they serve as deterrent to the other member countries,” because lack of political stability and rule of law would impede investment promotion and growth.

“So, it would be good for all to abide by the rules and if there is any deviant, that deviant is punished with the support of the international communities… once that is done, Mali and Guinea will quickly try and get back in line through democracy,” he said.

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