The G5 Sahel held its first extraordinary summit since Mali's withdrawal. But without Bamako, can the organization really survive and, above all, be effective?
On February 20, the very first extraordinary summit of the G5 Sahel took place since Mali slammed the door of the organization last May. It was in N'Djamena that leaders from Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad met to discuss the fight against transnational threats. A summit that went almost unnoticed in the press. It must be said that even the Burkinabè President of the Transition, Captain Traoré, also shunned the event, preferring to send his Minister of Defense to Chad. A gesture of solidarity with Mali, while the two countries are trying, with Guinea, to ally ?
In May 2022, when Chad chaired the G5 Sahel, it was up to Mali to take the lead. But after the August 2020 and May 2021 coups, some countries opposed Mali taking the presidency. Enough to anger Assimi Goïta, already targeted by sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mali wanted to protest and then announced its withdrawal from the G5 Sahel.
The observers had seen there the end of the authority. "The withdrawal of Mali is a de facto sign of the death of the G5 Sahel," said Ornella Moderan, researcher at the Institute for Security Studies. “Without Mali, the G5 Sahel countries find themselves deprived of a key partner in the fight,” wrote Geoffroy Chevignard, from the Nimrod-Contemporary Challenges of Defense and Security think tank.
No resurrection for the G5 Sahel
But for the analyst, another question must be asked: what was the real effectiveness of the G5 Sahel before the Malian withdrawal? "Organization has always been flawed," he said. Mali started from the organization, the relevance of the latter questions, and its actors could seek to establish new partnerships. These would take the form of bilateral cooperation between the G5 Sahel States, new sub-regional cooperation, and cooperation with external actors, while the eyes of the great powers are turning in a revitalized way towards Africa. .
He was precisely, during this summit, of “regional cooperation in matters of development and security”. But from the opening speech of the event, the outgoing president of the organization, Mahamat Idriss Déby, spoke of his desire to bring Mali back to the G5 Sahel, whose withdrawal he deplored. The Member States, in their final communiqué, reaffirmed their desire “to preserve and consolidate this important framework of cooperation and coordination between the four countries”. In other words, it's the status quo.
And after the withdrawal of Mali, the G5 Sahel would like the international community to mobilize a little more alongside the member countries. A "call for the involvement and commitment of all partners to support the new dynamic" was also launched. The fact remains that since the withdrawal of Mali, the G5 Sahel, which has not yet succeeded in proving itself, is running out of steam more and more. Failing to have been resuscitated, the organization therefore remains immersed in a certain lethargy. And it is not the taking office, as president, of the Mauritanian Mohamed Ould El-Ghazaouani which should give a second wind to this G5 Sahel.