Amid police firings in Burkina Faso, all eyes on 2015 election
Nearly a year after protests by trade unions and students, Burkina Faso's rulers are sorting through the fallout and recently fired 100 policemen, writes guest blogger Alex Thurston.
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The Africa Report adds more perspective on the regime’s new strategy and how it has been received internationally:Skip to next paragraph
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The new government has increased its actions, most notably by reducing prices of fast-moving consumer goods and agricultural input products, promoting civil servants or suspending unpaid penalties for delayed electricity bills.
In pole position is Luc Adolphe Tiao, who has embarked on a campaign to seduce Burkinabes and economic partners. The former journalist and diplomat has a somewhat pedagogical approach to his duties.
They also seem to desire an improvement in governance, social dialogue and the economic environment, in line with the recommendations of the World Bank.
Moreover, while meeting in Paris in the beginning of February, international partners gave their support to the Burkinabe government’s social and economic programmes, with a total budget of US$14.3bn for the period 2011-2015.
Their ambition is to reach a two-digit GDP growth, the only lever to real sustainable poverty reduction.
Many observers, then, agree that calm has been restored for the present. But those same observers are questioning whether stability can hold. The Africa Report wonders whether population growth will overwhelm economic growth. Morale among soldiers and police may have taken a hit from firings. And the shocks – particularly rapid increases in food prices – that contributed to crisis not only last year, but also in previous episodes, could return.
Some uncertainty about Burkina Faso’s political future centers on the president and his intentions. In Jeune Afrique (in French), Marwane Ben Yahmed writes that Compaore is facing pressures (including from abroad) to step down when his term ends in 2015, but also getting encouragement (especially from his circle) to remain. Ben Yahmed writes (my translation) that Compaore already knows what he intends to do, but that “he cannot commit himself to leave, at the risk of undermining his authority and launching a premature war of succession, just as he could not, evidently, announce that he will cling to power.” The guessing game about the president’s intentions, which could run for over two years, will ensure that a hint of tension remains in Burkina Faso’s politics for some time to come.
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