Writing for Euractiv, Francesco Sassi, a research fellow in energy geopolitics and markets at Ricerche Industriali ed Energetiche (RIE) in Bologna, comments on the events in Niger and the implications for Europe.
“Rome is seeking US and EU support for its “new” and “peer-to-peer” approach towards continental instability – a plan dubbed the “Mattei Plan”, named after Enrico Mattei, founder of Italy’s oil conglomerate Eni.
But the ousting of Bazoum could put this plan into jeopardy. The Sahel is on the brink of a dramatic conflict, which could facilitate the spread of jihadism in West Africa. The regional destabilisation would likely increase the threats to strategic energy infrastructures and trigger massive flows of immigrants to the southern borders of Europe, a lose-lose result for Italy.”
Now West Africa is on the verge of a new scenario and potentially even a war. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Nigerian president Bola Tinubu, announced it had suspended all economic ties with Niamey. Nigeria also cut electricity exports to Niger.
What is yet more concerning is ECOWAS’s threat to restore Niger’s constitutional order through military intervention. Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire have already said they were getting ready. Meanwhile, the juntas of Mali and Burkina Faso have backed the new Nigerien rulers, stating that an attack on Niger would be perceived as a declaration of war.”
My first commentary for @EURACTIV delves with the implications of the🇮🇳Niger coup for🇮🇹Italy and the Mattei Plan.
Italy wants to be an energy hinge between🇪🇺EU and Africa, as much as limit illegal immigration. But the coup puts this plan in jeopardy.
— Francesco Sassi (@Frank_Stones) August 5, 2023
Meanwhile, argues in the WSJ that “African democratic progress is at risk because U.S. and European policy makers missed how the balance of power was changed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the BRICS group.”
African democratic progress at risk because U.S. and European policy makers missed how the balance of power was changed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative and BRICS group. Niger’s Coup Shows West’s Peril by @FrancoisBaird @Heritage https://t.co/vLCkibF9lN
— Diana Furchtgott-Roth (@DFR_Economics) August 21, 2023