The prime ministers of Mali and Burkina Faso say they will explore the idea of creating a federation.
A small group of activists have walked from Bamako, the capital of Mali, to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to show their support for a federation between the two West African states.
The group, which calls itself “The Walkers for African Unity”, consists of a dozen men and women. It left Bamako on February 27. It will arrive in Ouagadougou on Tuesday and end its march at the Thomas Sankara Memorial, a tribute to the former president and noted Pan-Africanist.
Carrying the flags of both countries and the African Union, the activists lined up along the side of a road near Honde, in western Burkina Faso, last week as they approached the finish line of an 860km trek (535 miles). ).
“It is up to us today to push our governments, our institutions and our people to move towards federation, as we believe that only federation can be the global and final solution for Africa,” said Souleymane Diouf Diallo, spokesperson from the group.
“We, the African people, want a federation between Mali and Burkina Faso and why not later Guinea, Senegal and Ghana,” he said.
Last month, the prime ministers of Mali and Burkina Faso said they would explore the idea of creating a federation. What exactly that means is not clear.
The two countries share a long border and face similar challenges. They are both ruled by military governments that have ousted civilian leaders over the past two years, largely out of frustration at rising insecurity as armed groups stepped up attacks.
Relations with former colonial master France have also deteriorated in recent years, forcing them to look for new partners, including Russian private military contractor group Wagner. French troops have withdrawn from Mali and Burkina Faso has expelled the French ambassador.