Lazy eyes listen
Mali and Niger’s military regimes have both cancelled treaties with France that permitted them to work with the former colonial power on tax concerns. The decision was announced jointly by the two West African countries on Tuesday.
The Malian government is cancelling a 1972 deal with Paris aimed at avoiding double taxation and setting principles of reciprocal help in various tax situations, according to a statement issued on X (previously Twitter) by Mali’s foreign ministry. The intentions of the cancelled Niger-France convention were similar.
“France’s persistent hostile attitude towards our states… added to the unbalanced nature of these conventions, causing a significant shortfall for Mali and Niger” and breaking international cooperation standards, the two countries claimed.
The move is the latest in a series of actions taken by the West African countries’ military rulers to sever ties with France, which had previously been a key ally in various sectors, including security.
Mali and Niger, along with Burkina Faso, signed a charter in September to form the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) after the withdrawal of French troops from their respective countries. The agreement aims to allow the three nations to fight external and internal security threats together. The states, along with Chad and Mauritania, were previously members of the Paris-backed G5 Sahel agreement, which has since collapsed due to a series of military coups in the region.
Bamako and Niamey stated on Tuesday that they had chosen to discontinue tax cooperation with Paris within three months “in order to preserve the superior interests of the Malian and Nigerien peoples.”
The military rulers said in a statement announcing the decision that the French government’s intervention in the internal affairs of both countries renders treaty implementation impossible.
The latest defeats for France in its old West African colonies came in the aftermath of the July ouster of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, which caused the EU to impose harsh penalties. Paris has backed the West African regional organisation (ECOWAS)’s planned military action in Niger to restore democracy.