In a visit to neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem de Tambela has suggested the two countries form a “federation” to increase their economic power. Both countries are facing jihadist insurgencies and are governed by military juntas, who have distanced themselves from France, their former colonial power and traditional ally. During the visit, Prime Minister Kyelem de Tambela pointed out that Burkina Faso and Mali both produce cotton, cattle, and gold, and that combining these resources would make them a powerhouse.
The idea of forming a federation is not new, as there was a past effort to create one in francophone West Africa that included Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, and Benin, shortly before they gained independence from France in 1960. The Mali Federation unfortunately did not last, but Prime Minister Kyelem de Tambela believes it showed the way for the current federation proposal. He also stated that the solutions they have been seeking are often right under their noses.
There has been no official response from the Malian authorities regarding the federation proposal. However, during a dinner with Prime Minister Kyelem de Tambela, Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga said that the two neighbors have the same goals and shared guiding principles of defending sovereignty, the freedom to choose foreign partners, and national interests. Maiga expressed confidence that Burkina Faso shares similar demands and is willing to share ideas and experiences.
The two countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, are among the poorest and most volatile nations in the world, and have experienced little peace since independence. They are also fighting a brutal jihadist insurgency that has caused the death of thousands and displacement of over two million people. As a result, both countries have ordered the departure of French forces, which had been instrumental in fighting the jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. The pullout has followed mounting public criticism of France, who has been portrayed as exploitative and manipulative.
In conclusion, Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister Kyelem de Tambela is proposing a federation between Burkina Faso and Mali, in an effort to increase their economic power. Both countries are facing similar challenges and share similar goals, and the Prime Minister believes that forming a federation will provide a solution. The idea of a federation is not new and has been tried before, but Burkina Faso and Mali have the opportunity to make it a reality. The international community is pressuring both countries to return to democratic civilian rule, and creating a federation now, before power is returned to civilians, can ensure stability in the future.