A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region
SENEGAL AND MALI
Highlights this week focus on the results of the Senegalese legislative elections, the possibility of a third term for Macky Sall, the internal strife in Mali’s M5-RFP, the Mali-Russia relation, and updates on the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali
Legislative election results
The victory battle between the ruling coalition BBY and the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi has final come to an end in favour of the opposition, with the ruling opposition losing the majority. Out of the 165 seats, BBY secured 82 deputies, a little below the 83 seats required for an absolute majority. However, the main opposition coalitions also failed to win the majority of the National Assembly’s 165 seats. Yewwi Askan Wi and Wallu Senegal won 56 and 24 seats respectively, making a total of 80 seats. The remaining three seats were split among smaller parties and coalitions.
With the absence of an outright majority, and the President’s dire need of the majority, how will the presidential and the opposition coalitions manage the other three legislators? This has brought on an interesting twist to the Senegalese legislative history. Senegal has reportedly never had a National Assembly without an outright majority, and a Senegalese president has never governed without his party holding the majority. The unfolding of events in the 14th Legislature is worth looking forward to.
A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region – July 29th to August 4th 2022
MALI, BURKINA FASO, SENEGAL, GUINEA
In the week under review, key highlights focus on developments on the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers, the 2022 legislative elections in Senegal, responses or reactions to the French President’s African tour, the FNDC issues in Guinea, and on the health scenes, the persistent rise in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID across the region. Macron’s African Tour In line with French President, Emmanuel Macron’s African tour to Cameroon, Benin and Guinea Bissau to strengthen bilateral ties between these countries, Macron was received in Benin Republic by President Patrice Talon on July 27. In Benin, the two presidents used the occassion to renew their friendship, as well as discuss the restitution of cultural property and the threats of armed terrorist groups affecting northern Benin. During a press conference in Guinea Bissau, Macron expressed France’s support to the development of the country’s agricultural sector, respect of ECOWAS in regional matters, and solidarity with the region in fighting against terrorism. On Mali, he highlighted that the military junta in government is no longer fighting terrorism which prompted the withdrawal of French forces from Mali and also reiterated ECOWAS responsibility to help the Malian people “build a stable environment” to fight jihadist groups
MALI Political Dynamics Mali sends a message to Macron The remarks made by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron during his African tour, precisely in Guinea Bissau on July 28, 2022, have yielded responses from the Malian Transitional Government. During his press conference, the French Head of State reiterated erroneous accusations by asserting that the Malian authorities maintain relations with a paramilitary group. Another was on the exercise of violence by the Malian authorities targeting a specific ethnic group.
In response, the Transitional Government has condemned with the utmost rigor these “hateful and defamatory” remarks by the French President and called national and international opinion to witness these serious accusations which are likely to arouse ethnic hatred and undermine their living together, cohesion, as well as harmony among Malians. The Malian press release  underlines that “these subversive remarks by the French President vindicate the Transitional Government which, rightly, put an end to defense cooperation with France for its unsatisfactory results in the fight against terrorism in Mali”. 
French President Emmanuel Macron was thus demanded “to definitively abandon his neocolonial, paternalistic and condescending posture” with the understanding that no one can love Mali better than the Malians themselves.
ECOWAS Mediator Praises the Transition Process The ECOWAS Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck JONATHAN, was in Bamako from July 20 to 21 to monitor and evaluate the Transition process. During his 48-hour stay, he met with the Malian authorities and members of the local Transition monitoring committee. 
It would be recalled that the noteworthy progress made by the transition government enhanced the recent lifting of economic and financial sanctions by ECOWAS and WAEMU. However, ECOWAS had upheld other sanctions such as Mali’s suspension from decision-making institutions, until a peaceful return to constitutional order was attained.
Mandated to continue exchanges with Malian authorities, the Mediator noted the resumption of economic activities in post-sanction Mali upon his arrival at the airport. He acknowledged the progress made by the authorities and hoped that it will be maintained for the organization of the elections to allow the democratically elected government to take the reins of the country.
An International Arrest Warrant Against Former Prime Minister An international arrest warrant against former leaders of IBK’s regime was issued on July 25, 2022 by the Supreme Court of Mali. The former leaders involved include Boubou Cissé, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Economy and Finance of IBK; Tièman Hubert Coulibaly, former Minister of National Defence; Mamadou Igor Diarra, ex-Minister of Economy and Finance, and Babaly Bah, ex-boss of BMS-SA. The case is related to the purchase of equipment under a public contract known as PARAMOUNT, a part of the implementation of the Orientation and Programming Law for Homeland Security . Official investigation reports established overcharges of 40 billion CFA francs ($72 million), in the case related to the purchase of presidential aircraft and military equipment.
The reason for the international nature of the arrest warrant must be linked to the current residences of the concerned former leaders being outside Mali. Former Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cissé took residence in Côte d’Ivoire since December 2021, after having been accused of wanting to destabilize the transition. Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, former Minister of Defense, took refuge in France after being suspected in the framework of the Military Orientation and Programming Law.
A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region
Burkina Faso and Mali – 18th July to 22nd July 2022
Former ruling party reawakens The National Political Bureau of the People’s Movement for Progress (Mouvement du peuple pour le progress – MPP), held its first ordinary session1 this year on July 16 at the Palais de la Jeunesse et de la Culture in Ouagadougou. During the session, the deteriorating security situation of the country and the increased number of IDPs were some of the focal areas of discussion. While renewing its unwavering support for the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) and the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP) in the fight against insecurity, MPP invited its supporters to unite and work together for the strengthening and revival of the Party. The party is expected to take all appropriate measures to strengthen unity and cohesion and revitalize the life of the Party’s statutory structures at all organizational levels of the MPP, through field trips. Risks on Security and Socio-political Dynamics CODEL set to continue electoral education
The Convention of Civil Society Organizations for the Observation of Elections (CODEL) launched its project of “citizen watch and monitoring for good electoral governance in Burkina Faso”, on July 21 in Ouagadougou. The project, which stems from the disruption to democratic processes by the coup d’état of January 24, will be implemented over a period of three (03) months for awareness creation among the population on the various recommendations of observation missions in future elections. It will also serve as an opportunity to call on the authorities to clean up the electoral process for better governance in Burkina Faso.
Project activities will be carried out mainly in the central region, particularly in Ouagadougou. The flagship activities include a capitalization meeting on the recommendations resulting from the 2015 and 2020 electoral observations, a forum on electoral corruption and the illicit financing of political parties, advocacy and communications on electoral reforms. Barkhane in Ouagadougou
For the full report of the session and the party’s activities before and during the coup, please see 
At a press briefing organized by the Commander of the Barkhane Force, General Laurent Michon on July 21 in Ouagadougou, to mark the end of his mission in the Sahel, the Commander presented the results and prospects of the French military system in the Sahel region. Commenting on the withdrawal of Takuba and the Barkhane troop in Mali, he distanced the decision from the presence of Wagner but rather linked it to goodwill and hope for the political stability of the region.
MALI Political Dynamics ECOWAS Mediator praises the transition process The ECOWAS Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck JONATHAN, was in Bamako from July 20 to 21 to monitor and evaluate the Transition process. During his 48-hour stay, he met with the Malian authorities and members of the local Transition monitoring committee4. It would be recalled that the noteworthy progress made by the transition government enhanced the recent lifting of economic and financial sanctions by ECOWAS and WAEMU. However, ECOWAS had upheld other sanctions such as Mali’s suspension from decision-making institutions, until a peaceful return to constitutional order was attained. Mandated to continue exchanges with Malian authorities, the Mediator noted the resumption of economic activities in post-sanction Mali upon his arrival at the airport. He acknowledged the progress made by the authorities and hoped that it will be maintained for the organization of the elections to allow the democratically elected government to take the reins of the country.
The case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers in Mali Following the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers on arrival in Mali, explanations from the Ivorian end linked the arrested soldiers to a UN procedure allowing peacekeeping contingents to call on external contractors for logistical support, the National Support Elements (NSE). However, the Malian authorities regarded the soldiers as mercenaries, and have consequently suspended all rotations of the military and police contingents of the United Nations Mission in Mali (UNMIS), including those already scheduled, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The suspension is effective until the organization of a meeting to facilitate the coordination and regulation of the rotation of these contingents. As a result, 8 soldiers of the German army who had reserved their flights for July 14 were prevented from leaving Malian territory . However, before the expected meeting could even ensue, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Mali was invited by the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 20, to be notified that after the discussions between both teams, a series of biased  and unacceptable publications on Twitter by the Spokesperson of MINUSMA, Olivier Salgado, (as stated by the Malian authorities) has led to new developments regarding the case.
In a Communique  by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated July 20, Mr. Olivier Salgado was given 72 hours to leave Mali having not been able to present proof of the assertions contained in his tweet, or make the necessary correction demanded by the Malian authorities. Olivier Salgado, a UN diplomat and spokesperson for MINUSMA is the third individual (excluding the Barkhane and Takuba forces) to be declared persona non grata in Mali. Others before him are Hamidou Bolly the ECOWAS representative in Mali, and Jöel Meyer, the French Ambassador to Mali.
Monitoring the reactions of Malians on Twitter to this decision by the government, it appears the decision is welcomed with pride and relief for majority. MINUSMA also acknowledged and regretted the decision, while reiterating to continue to work towards the implementation of its mandate in support of peace and security in Mali
Clarifications on all current military operations demanded Given the inconsistencies surrounding the “49 Ivorian mercenaries” case, the Malian authorities decided to clarify all the military operations in progress in the country, starting with MINUSMA operations. Thus, after the suspension which took effect from July 14, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation requested a coordination meeting between the Malian structures concerned and the MINUSMA to facilitate the coordination and regulation of the rotation of contingents operating within the MINUSMA. And so, on July 12, the Malian government addressed a correspondence to MINUSMA asking for all the necessary documents on its contingents and contractors or co-contractors in Mali; the clarification of the legal or contractual links between the Ivorian soldiers concerned, Sahel Aviation Service and the German contingent of MINUSMA; as well as an update on the numbers of the National Support Elements, together with the precision of their places of deployment and the missions entrusted to them MINUSMA provides clarifications On July 22, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation
Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) transmitted the information requested by the Malian authorities as follows:
1) Clarification on the legal or contractual links between the Ivorian military personnel who arrived in Bamako on 10 July 2022, Sahel Aviation Service and the German contingent of MINUSMA.  MINUSMA notes that the Ivorian elements were deployed to Sénou (Bamako) to provide security at the German NSE base in Sénou, instead of Timbuktu where the Ivorian contingent of MINUSMA is based. It appears that certain procedures were not followed
The communique can be found here https://t.co/SasAXMWbmg and the Mission is trying to better understand how these malfunctions could have occurred in order to avoid their recurrence in the future.
2) Contractual, sub-contractual relationship between the German contingent and third parties MINUSMA is not aware of any contract between Germany and third parties for the protection of the German base in NSE. Measures have already been taken to strengthen the management of NSE
3) Number and location of NSE in MINUSMA UN policies allow TCCs and PCCs to deploy NSEs to provide services to their contingents in a national capacity
Each contingent is responsible for informing MINUSMA on a monthly basis of the number of its national support elements deployed. According to the contingents’ declarations, as of June 2022, the total number of NSEs in Mali is 609, including 471 supporting the German contingent, 33 Bangladeshis, 7 Cambodians, 5 Chadians, 60 British, 4 Sri Lankans, and 29 Swedes.
MINUSMA has not been informed of the presence and number of NSE from Côte d’Ivoire. However, by cross-checking internal documents, MINUSMA estimates the Ivorian detachment to be 50 men and women. MINUSMA has initiated a census of NSE in all its contingents, in order to obtain accurate figures. The Mission will share the findings of its verification once it is complete. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali thanks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali for its kind cooperation and takes this opportunity to renew the assurances of its highest consideration.
This new statement is clearly an indication that MINUSMA/United Nations has retraced its steps in the case of the 49 soldiers arrested on Sunday July 10, 2022, in Mali. From the statement, there were indeed malfunctions in the procedure, as contrary to the Ivorian statement on the case, this Note Verbale from MINUSMA clarifies that “the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Bamako are not national elements supporting the Minusma contingents” but, by cross-checking internal documents, MINUSMA estimates that the Ivorian detachment amounts to 50 men and women. Although MINUSMA has informed the Malian authorities “to have initiated a census of the NSE in all its contingents, in order to obtain its verifications once they are established”, could the Malian reasons behind the arrest of the 49 Ivorian soldiers be viable?
Cette édition de West Africa Insight Cs’intéresse à la manière dont la Chine étend son influence en Afrique de l’Ouest. Tobi Oshodi et James Barnett commencent par donner une vue d’ensemble et une analyse du rôle que les Instituts Confucius, qui sont maintenant au nombre de 15 en Afrique de l’Ouest, jouent pour soutenir l’agenda du soft power de la Chine dans la région. L’accent mis sur les efforts de la Chine pour étendre son influence de manière plus indirecte est également abordé dans les articles d’Emeka Umejei et de Solomon Elusoji. Tous deux examinent la manière dont la Chine a cherché à s’implanter dans l’espace médiatique en Afrique de l’Ouest en fournissant du contenu et en soutenant les maisons de presse et les journalistes, et dans quelle mesure ces efforts ont un impact sur les reportages, avec un accent particulier sur le Ghana et le Nigeria. Folashadé Soulé porte son attention sur les relations militaires entre la Chine et le Bénin dans un article qui cherche à mieux comprendre comment et pourquoi une telle coopération se met en place, et avec quel impact. Enfin, Adedayo Bakare propose une analyse de la manière dont les relations commerciales sino-ouest-africaines pourraient s’adapter à la zone de libre-échange continentale africaine et en bénéficierlors qu’elle deviendra opérationnelle.
This edition of West Africa Insight reflects on the ways China is extending its influence across West Africa. Tobi Oshodi and James Barnett start by providing an overview and analysis of the role Confucius Institutes, of which there are now 15 in West Africa, are playing in support of China’s soft power agenda in the region.
The focus on China’s efforts to extend its influence in more indirect ways is also discussed in pieces by Emeka Umejei and Solomon Elusoji. Both look at the ways in which China has sought to gain a foothold in the media space in West Africa through providing content and supporting media houses and journalists, and to what extent these efforts are impacting reporting with a specific focus on Ghana and Nigeria.
Folashadé Soulé switches the focus of attention to China-Benin military relations in a piece that seeks to better understand how and why such cooperation is being forged and with what impact. Finally, Adedayo Bakare offers an analysis of how Sino-West African trade relations might adapt to, and benefit from, the African Continental Free Trade Area as it becomes operational.
The days when COVID-19 was only a distant threat to West African countries are over. It is now evident that the virus is here to stay and must be addressed with practical responses that take into account the West African settings. Although the infection curve is not exponential, community transmission is beginning to gain ground in the region, with countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal at the forefront with the most cases.
The lack of testing capacity in many countries suggests that the estimated number of cases are most likely understated. Currently, there are three factors that give the region an advantage in the fight against the novel disease. First, is its youthful population. The average age of Africans is below 20 years, and available data suggests that the risk of serious medical complications and death is lower among younger people.
Furthermore, warm weather in the region could potentially reduce the spread of the virus, although this fact is remains unproven Lastly, as a result of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, it could analysts have argued that the region has some experience confronting infectious diseases.
While these factors might allow the region to avoid the worst of the pandemic, it also faces grave challenges that could overwhelm these advantages They include high levels of poverty densely packed urban areas and weak health systems and insecurity.
As the number of COVID 19 cases continues to increase, it will become increasingly difficult for the fragile healthcare system and economies of the region to withstand the effects of the pandemic This is because overall healthcare financing in most west African countries is relatively low at an average of US 292 per capita, thus, indicating a major constraint to effective healthcare service delivery.
In the last quarter of 2020, ﬁve of the 15 Economic Community of West African States member countries are facing important elections. In October, presidential elections will take place in Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire (October), with general elections to follow in Burkina Faso November), Ghana and Niger (both December).
This edition of West Africa Insights starts with a regional overview of the state of democracy in West Africa by Idayat Hassan. She underscores the threats posed by constitutional and military coups and the need for renewed regional resolve to uphold democratic values and ensure that development and democracy go hand in hand. Four further pieces provide in-depth analysis on the upcoming elections in the region.
Jessica Moody unpacks the threats that could see violence be a key feature of Cote D’Ivoire’s 31 October election, where President Ouattara is standing for a controversial third term. In Burkina Faso, violence is also threatening to impact on the November poll, with voter registration having not taken place in parts of the country where insecurity is rife. Wendyam Lankoandé reﬂects on how a ﬂawed electoral process could further erode trust in the country’s political institutions.
In Ghana, George-Bob Milliar discusses the importance of grassroot political party structures for political success and explains why both formal and informal mechanisms can be key to delivering desired electoral outcomes.
Finally in Niger, Hailmatou Hima analyses some of the key issues that will shape an election that will mark the ﬁrst peaceful transfer of power in the country, as President Issoufou steps downs having served his second, and ﬁnal, term in oﬃce.
The United States, one of the major culprits with regards to carbon emissions, had been ill-disposed to climate action even before it pulled out of the Paris Agreement – a global framework to limit global warming to below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C – in 2019.
The current US administration gets a lot of attention for its public opposition to climate change policy, but ten years after the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, where the world’s most developed economies pledged to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels, these countries, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute provided US$27.6 billion in domestic and international public finance, US$15.4 billion in fiscal support, and US$20.9 billion in state-owned enterprise investments to promote coal-fired power production in 2019.
African countries have been left frustrated by the unwillingness of the G20 countries, who are also the biggest polluters, to cut back on their emissions, says Oxfam Pan-Africa’s Food Security and Climate Change lead Alvin Munyasia. “The last Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations in Madrid did not end well as there was a lot of frustration over pertinent issues like carbon markets, climate induced loss and damage and financing for adaptation.
It is also unfortunate that the deliberations watered down the spirit in which the Paris Agreement was achieved and highlighted the division between large polluters, emerging polluters, and the most vulnerable countries”.
Many countries in West Africa are increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change, even though, according to World Resources Institute CAIT Climate Data Explorer, the regions greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 were 994.70 million metric tonnes: just 2.03% of global emissions.
Au 26 juin, plus de 65 000 cas de Covid-19 ont été enregistrés dans les 15 pays qui composent la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, depuis que la pandémie est signalée pour la première fois dans la région, en provenance de l’Europe, via le Nigeria vers la fin de février.
Cette édition spéciale de West Africa Insight donne la possibilité à un groupe d’experts de partager leurs ré exions sur la manière dont les gouvernements de la région gèrent jusqu’à présent la pandémie et les impacts plus importants qu’elle a eus sur la société dans son ensemble.
Les ripostes particulières de chaque pays y sont examinées en trois parties. Bintu Mansaray s’interroge sur le niveau de préparation du gouvernement de la Sierra Leone pour répondre à la pandémie malgré l’expérience écente d’Ebola. Elle écrit plutôt sur le rôle essentiel que jouent individuellement les citoyens pour vaincre le virus.
Ramatoulaye Sonko se préoccupe du mauvais bilan de gestion des fonds de l’administration Macky Sall. Aussi s’inquiète-t-elle de la reddition de comptes, de la transparence et du récent assouplissement des restrictions du connement qui pourraient miner/saper les efforts de la riposte sénégalaise de la Covid-19.
Based on its analysis of elections conducted so far in West Africa during the current pandemic, the Centre for Democracy and Development outlines the following considerations to guide the conduct of elections under the pandemic:
Tissued by national governments, public health authorities, and national task forces on the movement and safety of people should inform the decisions taken by governments and electoral management bodies to either postpone or hold elections. Actors should prioritize conducting the full gamut of electoral activities (voter registration, procurement, political campaigning, and electoral crisis management).
Decision-makers must consider the constitutional significance of elections and the originally scheduled dates by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of holding or postponing an election during the pandemic.
This is important if the legitimacy of the elections is not to be questioned or diminished.
As of 26 June, more than 65,000 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded across the 15 countries which comprise the Economic Community of West African States since the pandemic first arrived in the region from Europe, through Nigeria in late February.
The outbreak has highlighted the important role individual citizens and the private sector can play in supporting health systems strengthening.
The government must capitalise on this momentum to continue to improve medical facilities, train and compensate health care workers and ensure that needed supplies are readily available.
Four years after winning the fight against Ebola, Sierra Leone has another virus to defeat, but the resilience and perseverance of its citizens should offer hope that it will be able to do so.
This edition of West Africa Insight looks ahead to forthcoming elections in Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea and explores the ways in which new and old media are continuing to shape discourses about elections and democracy in Ghana and Nigeria.