Burkina Faso - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 17 Jan 2016 07:26
Coordinates: 13°N2°W>> / >>13°N 2°W>> / 13; -2
Burkina Faso (ibÉr-KEE-nÉFAH-soh; French: [buÊkina faso]) is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) in size. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. Its capital is Ouagadougou. As of 2014, its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million.
Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Residents of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinab(C) ( bÉr-KEE-nÉ-bay). French is an official language of government and business.
Before the conquest of what is now Burkina Faso by the French and other colonial powers during the late 19th century the country was ruled by various ethnic groups including the Mossi kingdoms. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes. Blaise Compaor(C) was the most recent president and ruled the country from 1987 until he was ousted from power by the popular youth upheaval of 31 October 2014. This resulted in a semi-presidential republic which lasted from October 2014 to September 2015. On 17 September 2015 the provisional government was in turn toppled by an apparent military coup d'(C)tat carried out by the Regiment of Presidential Security. On 24 September 2015, after pressure from the African Union, ECOWAS, and the armed forces, the military junta agreed to step down, and Michel Kafando was reinstated as Acting President.
HistoryPrehistoryThe northwestern part of today's Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers between 14,000 and 5000 BC. Their tools, including scrapers, chisels and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973 through archeological excavations.Agricultural settlements were established between 3600 and 2600 BC. The Bura culture was an Iron-Agecivilization centered in the southwest portion of modern-day Niger and in the southeast part of contemporary Burkina Faso.Iron industry, in smelting and forging for tools and weapons, had developed in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1200 BC.
Early historyHistorians debate the exact dates when Burkina Faso's many ethnic groups arrived. The Proto-Mossi arrived in the far eastern part of what is today Burkina Faso sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Samo arrived around the 15th century, the Dogon lived in Burkina Faso's north and northwest regions until sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries, and many of the other ethnic groups that make up the country's population arrived in the region during this time.
During the Middle Ages the Mossi established several separate kingdoms including those of Tenkodogo, Yatenga, Gourma, Zandoma, and Ouagadougou. Sometime between 1328 and 1338 Mossi warriors raided Timbuktu but the Mossi were defeated by Sonni Ali of Songhai at the Battle of Kobi in Mali in 1483.
During the early 16th century the Songhai conducted many slave raids into what is today Burkina Faso. During the 18th century the Gwiriko Empire was established at Bobo Dioulasso and ethnic groups such as the Dyan, Lobi, and Birifor settled along the Black Volta.
From colony to independence (1890s''1958)Starting in the early 1890s a series of British, French and German military officers made attempts to claim parts of what is today Burkina Faso. At times these colonialists and their armies fought the local peoples; at times they forged alliances with them and made treaties. The colonialist officers and their home governments also made treaties amongst themselves. Through a complex series of events what is Burkina Faso eventually became a French protectorate in 1896.
The eastern and western regions, where a standoff against the forces of the powerful ruler Samori Ture complicated the situation, came under French occupation in 1897. By 1898, the majority of the territory corresponding to Burkina Faso was nominally conquered; however, French control of many parts remained uncertain.
The Franco-British Convention of 14 June 1898 created the country's modern borders. In the French territory, a war of conquest against local communities and political powers continued for about five years. In 1904, the largely pacified territories of the Volta basin were integrated into the Upper Senegal and Niger colony of French West Africa as part of the reorganization of the French West African colonial empire. The colony had its capital in Bamako.
The French imposed their own language as the official one for colonial administration and generally appointed French colonists or nationals to prominent positions. The French started some schools and selected top students for additional education in France.
Draftees from the territory participated in the European fronts of World War I in the battalions of the Senegalese Rifles. Between 1915 and 1916, the districts in the western part of what is now Burkina Faso and the bordering eastern fringe of Mali became the stage of one of the most important armed oppositions to colonial government: the Volta-Bani War.
The French government finally suppressed the movement but only after suffering defeats. It also had to organize its largest expeditionary force of its colonial history to send into the country to suppress the insurrection. Armed opposition wracked the Sahelian north when the Tuareg and allied groups of the Dori region ended their truce with the government.
French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. The French feared a recurrence of armed uprising and had related economic considerations. To bolster its administration, the colonial government separated the present territory of Burkina Faso from Upper Senegal and Niger.
The new colony was named Haute Volta, and Fran§ois Charles Alexis douard Hesling became its first governor. Hesling initiated an ambitious road-making program to improve infrastructure and promoted the growth of cotton for export. The cotton policy '' based on coercion '' failed, and revenue generated by the colony stagnated. The colony was dismantled on 5 September 1932, being split between the French colonies of Ivory Coast, French Sudan and Niger. Ivory Coast received the largest share, which contained most of the population as well as the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
France reversed this change during the period of intense anti-colonial agitation that followed the end of World War II. On 4 September 1947, it revived the colony of Upper Volta, with its previous boundaries, as a part of the French Union. The French designated its colonies as departments of the metropole France on the European continent.
On 11 December 1958 the colony achieved self-government as the Republic of Upper Volta; it joined the Franco-African Community. A revision in the organization of French Overseas Territories had begun with the passage of the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956. This act was followed by reorganization measures approved by the French parliament early in 1957 to ensure a large degree of self-government for individual territories. Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French community on 11 December 1958. Full independence from France was received in 1960.
Upper Volta (1958''1984)The Republic of Upper Volta (French: R(C)publique de Haute-Volta) was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community. The name Upper Volta related to the nation's location along the upper reaches of the Volta River. The river's three tributaries are called the Black, White and Red Volta. These were expressed in the three colors of the former national flag.
Before attaining autonomy, it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On 5 August 1960, it attained full independence from France. The first president, Maurice Yam(C)ogo, was the leader of the Voltaic Democratic Union (UDV). The 1960 constitution provided for election by universal suffrage of a president and a national assembly for five-year terms. Soon after coming to power, Yam(C)ogo banned all political parties other than the UDV. The government lasted until 1966. After much unrest, including mass demonstrations and strikes by students, labor unions, and civil servants, the military intervened.
1966 coup d'(C)tatThe military coup d'(C)tat deposed Yam(C)ogo, suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and placed Lt. Col. Sangoul(C) Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. The army remained in power for four years. On 14 June 1970, the Voltans ratified a new constitution that established a four-year transition period toward complete civilian rule. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s as president of military or mixed civil-military governments. After conflict over the 1970 constitution, a new constitution was written and approved in 1977. Lamizana was reelected by open elections in 1978.
Lamizana's government faced problems with the country's traditionally powerful trade unions, and on 25 November 1980, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Lamizana in a bloodless coup. Colonel Zerbo established the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress as the supreme governmental authority, thus eradicating the 1977 constitution.
Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown two years later, on 7 November 1982, by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ou(C)draogo and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP). The CSP continued to ban political parties and organizations, yet promised a transition to civilian rule and a new constitution.
1983 coup d'(C)tatInfighting developed between the right and left factions of the CSP. The leader of the leftists, Capt. Thomas Sankara, was appointed prime minister in January 1983, but subsequently arrested. Efforts to free him, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaor(C), resulted in a military coup d'(C)tat on 4 August 1983.
The coup brought Sankara to power and his government began to implement a series of revolutionary programs which included mass-vaccinations, infrastructure improvements, the expansion of women's rights, encouragement of domestic agricultural consumption, and anti-desertification projects.
Burkina Faso (Since 1984)On 4 August 1984, on President Sankara's initiative, the country's name was changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (land of the upright/honest people).
Sankara's government formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with Sankara as its president, and established popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to "mobilize the masses" and implement the CNR's revolutionary programs. The regime created a youth program (the Pioneers of the Revolution) for educating children about Marxist ideals. The government also armed and deputized CDR members who began a campaign to weed out suspected anti-revolutionaries, causing discontent amongst the country's population and increasing domestic opposition to Sankara's regime.
A more positive reading of Thomas Sankara's presidency is given by the Liberation News:
`Burkina Faso became food self-sufficient in the span of four years. Sankara rejected the imperialist aid industry and encouraged local production and trade. He nationalized Burkina Faso's land and mineral wealth against the broaching power of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Alongside the economic revolution, he instated a vast social-cultural transformation wherein civil servants were forbidden from driving Mercedes vehicles and required to wear cotton tunics indigenous to the country. The women of Burkina Faso partook in the revolution with action centering on their rights. Sankara outlawed female genital mutilation and polygamy, and more women joined the military and were appointed to government positions.
Sankara's "revolution" took place within the context of the Cold War, and his visits to the Soviet Union and Cuba, calls for the cancellation of African debts held by Western governments and institutions and Marxist political regime were controversial, in particular in France and the United States as well as in most of Burkina Faso's immediate neighbors, all of which were generally western-oriented or else cautious towards the Soviet bloc with the exception of Togo.
On 15 October 1987, Sankara along with twelve other officials were killed in a coup d'(C)tat organized by Blaise Compaor(C), Sankara's former colleague and Burkina Faso's president until October 2014. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days. A majority of Burkinab(C) citizens hold that France's foreign ministry, the Quai d'Orsay, was behind Compaor(C) in organizing the coup.
Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given by Compaor(C) for the coup. Compaor(C) argued that Sankara had jeopardised foreign relations with the former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast (both of which supported the change in government). Following the coup Compaor(C) immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara's policies, returned the country back into the IMF fold, and ultimately spurned most of Sankara's legacy. Limited democratic reforms were introduced in 1990 by Compaor(C). Under the new constitution, Compaor(C) was re-elected without opposition in 1991. In 1998 Compaor(C) won election in a landslide. In 2004 13 people were tried for plotting a coup against President Compaor(C) and the coup's alleged mastermind was sentenced to life imprisonment. As of 2014, Burkina Faso remains one of the least developed countries in the world.
Compaor(C)'s government had played the role of negotiator in several West-African disputes including the 2010''11 Ivorian crisis, the Inter-Togolese Dialogue, and the 2012 Malian Crisis.
Between February and April 2011, the death of a schoolboy provoked protests throughout the country, coupled with a military mutiny and a magistrates' strike.
October 2014 protestsStarting on 28 October 2014 protesters began to march and demonstrate in Ouagadougou against President Blaise Compaore who appeared ready to amend the constitution and extend his 27-year rule. On 30 October, some protesters set fire to the parliament and took over the national TV headquarters.Ouagadougou International Airport was closed and MPs suspended the vote on changing the constitution to allow Compaor(C) to stand for re-election in 2015. Later in the day, the military dissolved all government institutions and set a curfew.
On 31 October 2014, President Compaor(C), facing mounting pressure, resigned after 27 years in office.Lt. Col. Isaac Zida said that he would lead the country during its transitional period before the planned 2015 presidential election but there were concerns over his close ties to the former president. In November 2014 opposition parties, civil society groups and religious leaders adopted a plan for a transitional authority to guide Burkina Faso to elections. Under the plan Michel Kafando was made the transitional President of Burkina Faso and Lt. Col. Zida became the acting Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
2015 coup d'(C)tatIn September 2015, the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP) seized the country's president and prime minister, and declared the National Council for Democracy the new national government. However, on 22 September 2015, the coup leader, Gilbert Diend(C)r(C), apologized and promised to restore the civilian government. On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power.
Government and politicsWith French help, Blaise Compaor(C) seized power in a coup d'(C)tat in 1987. He overthrew his long-time friend and ally Thomas Sankara, who was killed in the coup.
The constitution of 2 June 1991 established a semi-presidential government: its parliament could be dissolved by the President of the Republic, who was to be elected for a term of seven years. In 2000, the constitution was amended to reduce the presidential term to five years and set term limits to two, preventing successive re-election. The amendment took effect during the 2005 elections. If passed beforehand, it would have prevented Compaor(C) from being reelected.
Other presidential candidates challenged the election results. But in October 2005, the constitutional council ruled that, because Compaor(C) was the sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply to him until the end of his second term in office. This cleared the way for his candidacy in the 2005 election. On 13 November, Compaor(C) was reelected in a landslide, because of a divided political opposition.
In the 2010 Presidential elections, President Compaor(C) was re-elected. Only 1.6 million Burkinab(C)s voted, out of a total population 10 times that size.
The 2011 Burkinab¨ protests were a series of popular protests that called for the resignation of Compaor(C), democratic reforms, higher wages for troops and public servants and economic freedom. As a result, Governors were replaced and wages for public servants were raised.
The parliament consisted of one chamber known as the National Assembly which had 111 seats with members elected to serve five-year terms. There was also a constitutional chamber, composed of ten members, and an economic and social council whose roles were purely consultative. The 1991 constitution created a bicameral parliament but the upper house (Chamber of Representatives) was abolished in 2002.
The Compaor(C) administration had worked to decentralize power by devolving some of its powers to regions and municipal authorities. But the widespread distrust of politicians and lack of political involvement by many residents complicated this process. Critics described this as a hybrid decentralisation.
Political freedoms are severely restricted in Burkina Faso. Human rights organizations had criticised the Compaor(C) administration for numerous acts of state-sponsored violence against journalists and other politically active members of society.
In mid-September 2015 the Kafando government, along with the rest of the post-October 2014 political order, was temporarily overthrown in a coup attempt by the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP). They installed Gilbert Diend(C)r(C) as chairman of the new National Council for Democracy. On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power. The national elections were subsequently rescheduled for 29 November.
Kabor(C) won the election in the first round of voting, receiving 53.5% of the vote against 29.7% for the second place candidate, Zephirin Diabr(C). He was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015.
Foreign relationsBurkina Faso is a member of the African Union, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, La Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Community of West African States, and United Nations.
MilitaryThe army consists of some 6,000 men in voluntary service, augmented by a part-time national People's Militia composed of civilians between 25 and 35 years of age who are trained in both military and civil duties. According to Jane's Sentinel Country Risk Assessment, Burkina Faso's Army is undermanned for its force structure and poorly equipped, but has wheeled light-armour vehicles, and may have developed useful combat expertise through interventions in Liberia and elsewhere in Africa.
In terms of training and equipment, the regular Army is believed to be neglected in relation to the (C)lite Regiment of Presidential Security (French: R(C)giment de la S(C)curit(C) Pr(C)sidentielle '' RSP). Reports have emerged in recent years of disputes over pay and conditions. There is an air force with some 19 operational aircraft, but no navy, as the country is landlocked. Military expenses constitute approximately 1.2% of the nation's GDP.
In April 2011, there was an army mutiny; the president named new chiefs of staff, and a curfew was imposed in Ouagadougou.
Law enforcementBurkina Faso employs numerous police and security forces, generally modeled after organizations used by French police. France continues to provide significant support and training to police forces. The Gendarmerie Nationale is organized along military lines, with most police services delivered at the brigade level. The Gendarmerie operates under the authority of the Minister of Defence, and its members are employed chiefly in the rural areas and along borders.
There is a municipal police force controlled by the Ministry of Territorial Administration; a national police force controlled by the Ministry of Security; and an autonomous Regiment of Presidential Security (R(C)giment de la S(C)curit(C) Pr(C)sidentielle, or RSP), a 'palace guard' devoted to the protection of the President of the Republic. Both the gendarmerie and the national police are subdivided into both administrative and judicial police functions; the former are detailed to protect public order and provide security, the latter are charged with criminal investigations.
All foreigners and citizens are required to carry photo ID passports, or other forms of identification or risk a fine, and police spot identity checks are commonplace for persons traveling by auto, bush-taxi, or bus.
Geography and climateGeographyBurkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W and 3°E.
It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrianmassif. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak, T(C)nakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 m (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 m (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 m (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.
The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakamb(C)) and the Red Volta (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country's only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komo(C), which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country's surface.
The Niger's tributaries '' the B(C)li, the Gorouol, the Goud(C)bo and the Dargol '' are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still can flood and overflow, however. The country also contains numerous lakes '' the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, B(C)li, Yomboli and Markoye. Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.
Administrative divisionsThe country is divided into 13 administrative regions. These regions encompass 45 provinces and 301 departments. Each region is administered by a Governor.
ClimateBurkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 600 and 900 mm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan '' a hot dry wind from the Sahara '' blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June to September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel in the north typically receives less than 600 mm (23.6 in) of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5''47 °C (41.0''116.6 °F).
A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. Situated between 11°3' and 13°5' north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 900 mm (35.4 in) of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.
Burkina Faso's natural resources include manganese, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, salt, and small deposits of gold.
Wildlife and the environmentBurkina Faso has a larger number of elephants than many countries in West Africa. Lions, leopards and buffalo can also be found here, including the dwarf or red buffalo, a smaller reddish-brown animal which looks like a fierce kind of short-legged cow. Other large predators live in Burkina Faso, such as the cheetah, the caracal or African lynx, the spotted hyena and the African wild dog, one of the continent's most endangered species.
Burkina Faso's fauna and flora are protected in four national parks:
The W National Park in the east which passes Burkina Faso, Benin, and NigerThe Arly Wildlife Reserve (Arly National Park in the east)The L(C)raba -Como(C) Classified Forest and Partial Reserve of Wildlife in the westThe Mare aux Hippopotames in the westand several reserves: see List of national parks in Africa, Nature reserves of Burkina Faso.
Economy and InfrastructureThe value of Burkina Faso's exports fell from $2.77 billion in 2011 to $754 million in 2012. Agriculture represents 32% of its gross domestic product and occupies 80% of the working population. It consists mostly of rearing livestock. Especially in the south and southwest, the people grow crops of sorghum, pearl millet, maize (corn), peanuts, rice and cotton, with surpluses to be sold. A large part of the economic activity of the country is funded by international aid.
Burkina Faso was ranked the 111th safest investment destination in the world in the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings.Remittances used to be an important source of income to Burkina Faso until the 1990s, when unrest in Ivory Coast, the main destination for Burkinabe emigrants, forced many to return home. Remittances now account for less than 1% of GDP.
Burkina Faso is part of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UMEOA) and has adopted the CFA Franc. This is issued by the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO), situated in Dakar, Senegal. The BCEAO manages the monetary and reserve policy of the member states, and provides regulation and oversight of financial sector and banking activity. A legal framework regarding licensing, bank activities, organizational and capital requirements, inspections and sanctions (all applicable to all countries of the Union) is in place, having been reformed significantly in 1999. Micro-finance institutions are governed by a separate law, which regulates micro-finance activities in all WAEMU countries. The insurance sector is regulated through the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA).
There is mining of copper, iron, manganese, gold, cassiterite (tin ore), and phosphates. These operations provide employment and generate international aid. Gold production increased 32% in 2011 at six gold mine sites, making Burkina Faso the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa, after South Africa, Mali and Ghana.
Burkina Faso also hosts the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou. It is better known by its French name as SIAO, Le Salon International de l' Artisanat de Ouagadougou, and is one of the most important African handicraft fairs.
Burkina Faso is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
While services remain underdeveloped, the National Office for Water and Sanitation (ONEA), a state-ownedutility company run along commercial lines, is emerging as one of the best-performing utility companies in Africa. High levels of autonomy and a skilled and dedicated management have driven ONEA's ability to improve production of and access to clean water.
Since 2000, nearly 2 million more people have access to water in the four principal urban centres in the country; the company has kept the quality of infrastructure high (less than 18% of the water is lost through leaks '' one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa), improved financial reporting, and increased its annual revenue by an average of 12% (well above inflation). Challenges remain, including difficulties among some customers in paying for services, with the need to rely on international aid to expand its infrastructure. The state-owned, commercially run venture has helped the nation reach its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in water-related areas, and has grown as a viable company.
The growth rate in Burkina Faso is high although it continues to be plagued by corruption and incursions from terrorist groups from Mali and Niger.
TransportTransport in Burkina Faso is hampered by a largely underdeveloped infrastructure.
The main airport is at Ouagadougou and as of June 2014 it had regularly scheduled flights to many destinations in West Africa as well as Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. There is another international airport at Bobo Dioulasso which has flights to Ouagadougou and Abidjan.
Rail transport in Burkina Faso consists of a single line which runs from Kaya to Abidjan in Ivory Coast via Ouagadougou, Koudougou, Bobo Dioulasso and Banfora. Sitarail operates a passenger train three times a week along the route.
There are 12,506 kilometres of highway in Burkina Faso, of which 2,001 kilometres are paved.
SocietyDemographicsBurkina Faso is an ethnically integrated, secular state. Most of Burkina's people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, where their density sometimes exceeds 48 per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). Hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe migrate regularly to Ivory Coast and Ghana, mainly for seasonal agricultural work. These flows of workers are affected by external events; the September 2002 coup attempt in Ivory Coast and the ensuing fighting meant that hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe returned to Burkina Faso. The regional economy suffered when they were unable to work.
The total fertility rate of Burkina Faso is 5.93 children born per woman (2014 estimates), the sixth highest in the world.
In 2009 the U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report reported that slavery in Burkina Faso continued to exist and that Burkinab¨ children were often the victims. Slavery in the Sahel states in general, is an entrenched institution with a long history that dates back to the Arab slave trade.
Ethnic groupsBurkina Faso's 17.3 million people belong to two major West African ethnic cultural groups'--the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from the area of Ghana Empire about 1100. They established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is led by the Mogho Naba, whose court is in Ouagadougou.
LanguagesBurkina Faso is a multilingual country. An estimated 69 languages are spoken there, of which about 60 are indigenous. The Mossi language (Mossi: M²or(C)) is spoken by about 40% of the population, mainly in the central region around the capital, Ouagadougou, along with other, closely related Gurunsi languages scattered throughout Burkina.
In the west, Mande languages are widely spoken, the most predominant being Dyula (also known as Jula or Dioula), others including Bobo, Samo, and Marka. The Fula language (Fula: Fulfulde, French: Peuhl) is widespread, particularly in the north. The Gourmanch(C) language is spoken in the east, while the Bissa language is spoken in the south.
The official language is French, which was introduced during the colonial period. French is the principal language of administrative, political and judicial institutions, public services, and the press. It is the only language for laws, administration and courts.
ReligionStatistics on religion in Burkina Faso are inexact because Islam and Christianity are often practiced in tandem with indigenous religious beliefs. The Government of Burkina Faso 2006 census reported that 60.5% of the population practice Islam, and that the majority of this group belong to the Sunni branch, while a small minority adheres to Shia Islam. There are also large concentrations of the Ahmadiyya Muslims.
A significant number of Sunni Muslims identify with the TijaniyahSufi order. The government estimated that 23.2% of the population are Christians (19% being Roman Catholics and 4.2% members of Protestant denominations); 15.3% follow traditional indigenous beliefs, 0.6% have other religions, and 0.4% have none.
HealthIn 2012, the average life expectancy was estimated at 57 for male and 59 for female. The under five mortality rate and the infant mortality rate were respectively 102 and 66 per 1000 live births. In 2014, the median age of its inhabitants is 17 and the estimated population growth rate is 3.05%.
In 2011, health expenditures was 6.5% of GDP; the maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 300 deaths per 100000 live births and the physician density at 0.05/1000 population in 2010. In 2012, it was estimated that the adult HIV prevalence rate (ages 15''49) was 1.0%. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, HIV prevalence is declining among pregnant women who attend antenatal clinics. According to a 2005 World Health Organization report, an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso's girls and women have had female genital mutilation, administered according to traditional rituals.
Central government spending on health was 3% in 2001. As of 2009, studies estimated there were as few as 10 physicians per 100,000 people. In addition, there were 41 nurses and 13 midwives per 100,000 people.Demographic and Health Surveys has completed three surveys in Burkina Faso since 1993, and had another in 2009.
EducationEducation in Burkina Faso is divided into primary, secondary and higher education. High school costs approximately CFA 25,000 ($50 USD) per year, which is far above the means of most Burkinab¨ families. Boys receive preference in schooling; as such, girls' education and literacy rates are far lower than their male counterparts. An increase in girls' schooling has been observed because of the government's policy of making school cheaper for girls and granting them more scholarships.
To proceed from elementary to middle school, middle to high school or high school to college, national exams must be passed. Institutions of higher education include the University of Ouagadougou, The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso, and the University of Koudougou, which is also a teacher training institution. There are some small private colleges in the capital city of Ouagadougou but these are affordable to only a small portion of the population.
There is also the International School of Ouagadougou (ISO), an American-based private school located in Ouagadougou.
The 2008 UN Development Program Report ranked Burkina Faso as the country with the lowest level of literacy in the world, despite a concerted effort to double its literacy rate from 12.8% in 1990 to 25.3% in 2008.
CultureLiterature in Burkina Faso is based on the oral tradition, which remains important. In 1934, during French occupation, Dim-Dolobsom Ouedraogo published his Maximes, pens(C)es et devinettes mossi (Maximes, Thoughts and Riddles of the Mossi), a record of the oral history of the Mossi people.
The oral tradition continued to have an influence on Burkinab¨ writers in the post-independence Burkina Faso of the 1960s, such as Nazi Boni and Roger Nikiema. The 1960s saw a growth in the number of playwrights being published. Since the 1970s, literature has developed in Burkina Faso with many more writers being published.
The theatre of Burkina Faso combines traditional Burkinab¨ performance with the colonial influences and post-colonial efforts to educate rural people to produce a distinctive national theatre. Traditional ritual ceremonies of the many ethnic groups in Burkina Faso have long involved dancing with masks. Western-style theatre became common during colonial times, heavily influenced by French theatre. With independence came a new style of theatre inspired by forum theatre aimed at educating and entertaining Burkina Faso's rural people.
Arts and craftsIn addition to several rich traditional artistic heritages among the peoples, there is a large artist community in Burkina Faso, especially in Ouagadougou. Much of the crafts produced are for the growing tourist industry.
CuisineTypical of West African cuisine, Burkina Faso's cuisine is based on staple foods of sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. The most common sources of animal protein are chicken, chicken eggs and fresh water fish. A typical Burkinab¨ beverage is Banji or Palm Wine, which is fermented palm sap; and Zoom kom, or "grain water" purportedly the national drink of Burkina Faso. Zoom-kom is milky-looking and whitish, having a water and cereal base, best drunk with ice cubes.
CinemaThe cinema of Burkina Faso is an important part of West African and African film industry. Burkina's contribution to African cinema started with the establishment of the film festival FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cin(C)ma et de la T(C)l(C)vision de Ouagadougou), which was launched as a film week in 1969. Many of the nation's filmmakers are known internationally and have won international prizes.
For many years the headquarters of the Federation of Panafrican Filmmakers (FEPACI) was in Ouagadougou, rescued in 1983 from a period of moribund inactivity by the enthusiastic support and funding of President Sankara. (In 2006 the Secretariat of FEPACI moved to South Africa, but the headquarters of the organization is still in Ouagaoudougou.) Among the best known directors from Burkina Faso are Gaston Kabor(C), Idrissa Ouedraogo and Dani Kouyate. Burkina produces popular television series such as Bobodjiouf. The internationally known filmmakers such as Ouedraogo, Kabore, Yameogo, and Kouyate make popular television series.
SportsSport in Burkina Faso is widespread and includes football (soccer), basketball, cycling, Rugby union, handball, tennis, boxing and martial arts. Football is very popular in Burkina Faso, played both professionally, and informally in towns and villages across the country. The national team is nicknamed "Les Etalons" ("the Stallions") in reference to the legendary horse of Princess Yennenga.
In 1998, Burkina Faso hosted the Africa Cup of Nations for which the Omnisport Stadium in Bobo-Dioulasso was built. In 2013, Burkina Faso qualified for the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, reached the final, but then lost to Nigeria by the score of 0 to 1. The country is currently ranked 71st in the FIFA World Rankings.
Basketball is another sport which enjoys much popularity for both men and women. The country's national team had its most successful year in 2013 when it qualified for the AfroBasket, the continent's prime basketball event.
MediaThe nation's principal media outlet is its state-sponsored combined television and radio service, Radiodiffusion-T(C)l(C)vision Burkina (RTB).RTB broadcasts on two medium-wave (AM) and several FM frequencies. Besides RTB, there are privately owned sports, cultural, music, and religious FM radio stations. RTB maintains a worldwide short-wave news broadcast (Radio Nationale Burkina) in the French language from the capital at Ouagadougou using a 100 kW transmitter on 4.815 and 5.030 MHz.
Attempts to develop an independent press and media in Burkina Faso have been intermittent. In 1998, investigative journalist Norbert Zongo, his brother Ernest, his driver, and another man were assassinated by unknown assailants, and the bodies burned. The crime was never solved. However, an independent Commission of Inquiry later concluded that Norbert Zongo was killed for political reasons because of his investigative work into the death of David Ouedraogo, a chauffeur who worked for Fran§ois Compaor(C), President Blaise Compaor(C)'s brother.
In January 1999, Fran§ois Compaor(C) was charged with the murder of David Ouedraogo, who had died as a result of torture in January 1998. The charges were later dropped by a military tribunal after an appeal. In August 2000, five members of the President's personal security guard detail (R(C)giment de la S(C)curit(C) Pr(C)sidentielle, or RSP) were charged with the murder of Ouedraogo. RSP members Marcel Kafando, Edmond Koama, and Ousseini Yaro, investigated as suspects in the Norbert Zongo assassination, were convicted in the Ouedraogo case and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
Since the death of Norbert Zongo, several protests regarding the Zongo investigation and treatment of journalists have been prevented or dispersed by government police and security forces. In April 2007, popular radio reggae host Karim Sama, whose programs feature reggae songs interspersed with critical commentary on alleged government injustice and corruption, received several death threats.
Sama's personal car was later burned outside the private radio station Ouaga FM by unknown vandals. In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote to President Compaor(C) to request his government investigate the sending of e-mailed death threats to journalists and radio commentators in Burkina Faso who were critical of the government. In December 2008, police in Ouagadougou questioned leaders of a protest march that called for a renewed investigation into the unsolved Zongo assassination. Among the marchers was Jean-Claude Meda, the president of the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso.
Cultural Festivals and EventsEvery two years, Ouagadougou hosts the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the largest African cinema festival on the continent(February, odd years).
Held every two years since 1988, the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou (SIAO), is one of Africa's most important trade shows for art and handicrafts (late October-early November, even years).
Also every two years, the Symposium de sculpture sur granit de Laongo takes place on a site located about 35 km from Ouagadougou, in the province of Oubritenga.
The National Culture Week of Burkina Faso, better known by its French name La Semaine Nationale de la culture (SNC), is one of the most important cultural activities of
Burkina Faso. It is a biennial event which takes place every two years in Bobo Dioulasso, the second-largest city in the country.
Food securityBurkina Faso is faced with high levels of food insecurity. As defined by the 1996 World Food Summit, "food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle. There has not been much successful improvement on this issue of food security within recent years. Burkina Faso's rapidly-growing population (around 3.6% annually) continues to put a strain on the country's resources and infrastructure, which can further limit accessibility to food. Because the country is landlocked and prone to Natural disasters, including drought and floods, many families struggle to protect themselves from severe hunger. While recent harvest productions have improved some, much of the population is still having a hard time overcoming the continuous food and nutrition crises of the past decade.Malnutrition is especially common in women and children, with large amounts of the population suffering from stunted growth and micronutrient deficiencies such as anemia. Food insecurity has grown to be a structural problem in Burkina Faso, only to be intensified by high food prices. All of these factors combined with high poverty levels have left Burkina Faso vulnerable to chronic high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Causes of food insecuritySocial and economicPoverty continues to be strongly linked to food insecurity. As one of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has around 44.5% of its population living under the poverty line and ranked 183 out of 187 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index in 2014. The Human Development Index is a measure of quality of life, taking into account three main areas of human development: longevity, education, and economic standard of living. These high levels of poverty found in Burkina Faso, combined with the soaring food prices of the global food crisis continue to contribute to Burkina Faso's issue of food insecurity. The global food crisis of 2007-2008 was a drastic surge in food prices that lead to high rates of hunger, malnutrition, and political and economic instability in nations across the globe. This strongly affected Burkina Faso because around 80% of Burkina's population is rural, relying on subsistence farming to make a living. For instance, when natural disasters such as floods, droughts, or locust attacks occur and cause crops to fail, farmers in Burkina Faso become dependent on grain purchases. Because of the global food crisis, local grain prices dramatically increased, limiting farmers' access to grain through market exchanges.
EnvironmentalGeographic and environmental causes can also play a significant role in contributing to Burkina Faso's issue of food insecurity. As the country is situated in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso experiences some of the most radical climatic variation in the world, ranging from severe flooding to extreme drought. The unpredictable climatic shock that Burkina Faso citizens often face results in strong difficulties in being able to rely on and accumulate wealth through agricultural means. Burkina Faso's climate also renders its crops vulnerable to insect attacks, including attacks from locusts and crickets, which destroy crops and further inhibit food production. Not only is most of the population of Burkina Faso dependent on agriculture as a source of income, but they also rely on the agricultural sector for food that will directly feed the household. Due to the vulnerability of agriculture, more and more families are having to look for other sources of non-farm income, and oftentimes have to travel outside of their regional zone to find work.
Current statisticsAccording to the Global Hunger Index, a multidimensional tool used to measure and track a country's hunger levels, Burkina Faso ranked 65 out of 78 countries in 2013. It is estimated that there are currently over 1.5 million children who are at risk of food insecurity in Burkina Faso, with around 350,000 children who are in need of emergency medical assistance. However, only about a third of these children will actually receive adequate medical attention. Only 11.4 percent of children under the age of two receive the daily recommended number of meals. Stunted growth as a result of food insecurity is a severe problem in Burkina Faso, affecting at least a third of the population from 2008 to 2012. Additionally, stunted children, on average, tend to complete less school than children with normal growth development, further contributing to the low levels of education of the Burkina Faso population.
The European Commission expects that approximately 500,000 children under the age of 5 in Burkina Faso will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2015, including around 149,000 who will suffer from its most life-threatening form. Rates of micronutrient deficiencies are also high. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS 2010), 49 percent of women and 88 percent of children under the age of five suffer from anemia. Forty percent of infant deaths can be attributed to malnutrition, and in turn, these infant mortality rates have decreased Burkina Faso's total work force by 13.6 percent, demonstrating how food security affects more aspects of life beyond health.
These high rates of food insecurity and the accompanying effects are even more prevalent in rural populations compared to urban ones, as access to health services in rural areas is much more limited and awareness and education of children's nutritional needs is lower.
Approaches to improving food securityWorld Food ProgrammeThe World Food Programme has several projects it is working on that are geared towards increasing food security in Burkina Faso. The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation 200509 (PRRO) was formed to respond to the high levels of malnutrition in Burkina Faso, following the food and nutrition crisis in 2012. The efforts of this project are mostly geared towards the treatment and prevention of malnutrition and include take home rations for the caretakers of those children who are being treated for malnutrition. Additionally, the activities of this operation contribute to families' abilities to withstand future food crises. Better nutrition among the two most vulnerable groups, young children and pregnant women, prepares them to be able to respond better in times when food security is compromised, such as in droughts.
The Country Programme (CP) has two parts: food and nutritional assistance to people with HIV/AIDS, and a school feeding program for all primary schools in the Sahel region. The HIV/AIDS nutrition program aims to better the nutritional recovery of those who are living with HIV/AIDS and to protect at-risk children and orphans from malnutrition and food security. As part of the school feeding component, the Country Programme's goals are to increase enrollment and attendance in schools in the Sahel region, where enrollment rates are below the national average. Furthermore, the program aims at improving gender parity rates in these schools, by providing girls with high attendance in the last two years of primary school with take-home rations of cereals as an incentive to households, encouraging them to send their girls to school.
World BankThe World Bank was established in 1944, and is comprised of five institutions whose shared goals are to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the lower forty percent of every country. One of the main projects the World Bank is working on to reduce food insecurity in Burkina Faso is the Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project. According to the World Bank, the objective of this project is to "improve the capacity of poor producers to increase food production and to ensure improved availability of food products in rural markets." The Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project has three main parts. Its first component is to work towards the improvement of food production, including financing grants and providing 'voucher for work' programs for households who cannot pay their contribution in cash. The project's next component involves improving the ability of food products, particularly in rural areas. This includes supporting the marketing of food products, and aims to strengthen the capabilities of stakeholders to control the variability of food products and supplies at local and national levels. Lastly, the third component of this project focuses on institutional development and capacity building. Its goal is to reinforce the capacities of service providers and institutions who are specifically involved in project implementation. The project's activities aim to build capacities of service providers, strengthen the capacity of food producer organizations, strengthen agricultural input supply delivery methods, and manage and evaluate project activities.
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TitleREMOTE SENSING 14, no. 8 (1993): 1495-1515. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01431169308953983#.Vjcg3bdY5Bc^ ab"Coping with household-level food insecurity in drought-affected areas of Burkina Faso"(PDF). ac.els-cdn.com. doi:10.1016/0305-750X(88)90109-X. Retrieved 2015-11-02. ^Roncoli, Ingram, and Kirshen (2001). "The costs and risks of coping with drought: livelihood impacts and farmers' responses in Burkina Faso". https://www.agriskmanagementforum.org/sites/agriskmanagementforum.org/files/Documents/drought%20burkina%20faso%202001.pdf. ^"Global Hunger Index | IFPRI". www.ifpri.org. Retrieved 2015-11-20. ^ abcd"UN World Food Program". www.wfp.org. Retrieved 2015-10-19. ^ ab"The Cost of Hunger in Africa: Burkina Faso 2015"(PDF). African Union Commission. ^"Statistics". UNICEF. Retrieved 2015-10-19. ^"Education of Marginalized Populations in Burkina Faso". ^ ab"The DHS Program - Burkina Faso: DHS, 2010 - Final Report (French)". dhsprogram.com. 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Further readingEngberg-Perderson, Lars, Endangering Development: Politics, Projects, and Environment in Burkina Faso (Praeger Publishers, 2003).Englebert, Pierre, Burkina Faso: Unsteady Statehood in West Africa (Perseus, 1999).Howorth, Chris, Rebuilding the Local Landscape: Environmental Management in Burkina Faso (Ashgate, 1999).McFarland, Daniel Miles and Rupley, Lawrence A, Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso (Scarecrow Press, 1998).Manson, Katrina and Knight, James, Burkina Faso (Bradt Travel Guides, 2011).Roy, Christopher D and Wheelock, Thomas G B, Land of the Flying Masks: Art and Culture in Burkina Faso: The Thomas G.B. Wheelock Collection (Prestel Publishing, 2007).Sankara, Thomas, Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983''1987 (Pathfinder Press, 2007).Sankara, Thomas, We are the Heirs of the World's Revolutions: Speeches from the Burkina Faso Revolution 1983''1987 (Pathfinder Press, 2007).External linksTrade International membership
THE CIA SHILL-Alassane Ouattara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 17 Jan 2016 07:23
Alassane Dramane Ouattara (French pronunciation: [alasan wataÊa] (listen); born 1 January 1942) is an Ivoirian politician who has been President of C´te d'Ivoire since 2011. An economist by profession, Ouattara worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - where he rose to be deputy head -  and the Central Bank of West African States (French: Banque Centrale des tats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, BCEAO), and he was the Prime Minister of C´te d'Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993, appointed to that post by President F(C)lix Houphout-Boigny. Ouattara became the President of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), an Ivorian political party, in 1999.
Early lifeOuattara was born on 1 January 1942 in Dimbokro in central Ivory Coast. He is a descendant on his father's side of the Muslim rulers of Burkina Faso, then part of the Kong Empire (aka the Wattara (Ouattarra) Empire); Ouattara himself is of Muslim background. He received a bachelor of science degree in 1965 from the Drexel Institute of Technology, which is now called Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ouattara then obtained both his master's degree in economics in 1967 and a PhD in economics in 1972 from the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1991, Ouattara was married to Dominique Nouvian, a French businesswoman, who was born Jewish but later became Catholic. Their wedding ceremony was held in the town hall of the prestigious 16th arrondissement of Paris. Some[who?] have claimed that the marriage ceremony was presided over by French President Nicolas Sarkozy when he was mayor of Neuilly.
Career at financial institutionsHe was an economist for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. from 1968 to 1973, and afterwards he was the BCEAO's Charg(C) de Mission in Paris from 1973 to 1975. With the BCEAO, he was then Special Advisor to the Governor and Director of Research from February 1975 to December 1982 and Vice Governor from January 1983 to October 1984. From November 1984 to October 1988 he was Director of the African Department at the IMF, and in May 1987 he additionally became Counsellor to the Managing Director at the IMF. On 28 October 1988 he was appointed as Governor of the BCEAO, and he was sworn in on 22 December 1988. Ouattara has a reputation as a hard-worker, keen on transparency and good governance.
Prime MinisterIn April 1990, the IMF under the Structural Adjustment Program forced the Ivorian President to accept Ouattara as Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization and Economic Recovery Programme of C´te d'Ivoire. While holding that position, Ouattara also remained in his post as BCEAO Governor. He subsequently became Prime Minister of C´te d'Ivoire on 7 November 1990 still under the IMF imposition, after which Charles Konan Banny replaced him as Interim BCEAO Governor.
While serving as Prime Minister, Ouattara also tried, illegally and against the constitution, to carry out presidential duties for a total of 18 months, including the period from March to December 1993, when Houphout-Boigny was ill. Houphout-Boigny died on 7 December 1993, and Ouattara announced his death to the nation, saying that "C´te d'Ivoire is orphaned". A brief power struggle ensued between Ouattara and Henri Konan B(C)di(C), the President of the National Assembly, over the presidential succession in total disregard for the constitution that clearly gave Bedi(C) the legal right to lead the country if Houphouet became unfit. B(C)di(C) prevailed and Ouattara resigned as Prime Minister on 9 December. Ouattara then returned to the IMF as Deputy Managing Director, holding that post from 1 July 1994, to 31 July 1999.
1995 electionPrior to the October 1995 presidential election, the National Assembly of C´te d'Ivoire approved an electoral code which barred candidates if either of their parents were of a foreign nationality and if they had not lived in C´te d'Ivoire for the preceding five years. It was widely thought these provisions were aimed at Ouattara. Owing to his duties with the IMF, he had not resided in the country since 1990. Also, his father was rumoured to have been born in Burkina Faso. The Rally of the Republicans (RDR), an opposition party formed as a split from the ruling Democratic Party of C´te d'Ivoire (PDCI) in 1994, sought for Ouattara to be its presidential candidate. In late June 1995, RDR Secretary-General Dj(C)ni Kobina met with Ouattara, at which time, according to Kobina, Ouattara said "I'm ready to join you". The party nominated Ouattara as its presidential candidate on 3 July 1995 at its first ordinary congress. The government would not change the electoral code, however, and Ouattara declined the nomination. The RDR boycotted the election, along with the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) of Laurent Gbagbo, leaving the PDCI's candidate, incumbent president Henri Konan B(C)di(C), to win an easy victory.
President of the RDRWhile serving as Deputy Managing Director at the IMF, in March 1998 Ouattara expressed his intention to return to C´te d'Ivoire and take part in politics again. After leaving the IMF in July 1999, he was elected President of the RDR on 1 August 1999 at an extraordinary congress of the party, as well as being chosen as its candidate for the next presidential election. He said he was eligible to stand in the election, pointing to documents he said demonstrated that he and his parents were of Ivorian birth.
He was accused of forging these papers, however, and an investigation was begun. President B(C)di(C) described Ouattara as a Burkinab(C) and said that Houphout-Boigny "wanted Alassane Ouattara to concern himself only with the economy". Ouattara's nationality certificate, issued in late September 1999, was annulled by a court on 27 October. An arrest warrant for Ouattara was issued on 29 November, although he was out of the country at the time; he nevertheless said that he would return by late December.
On 24 December, the military seized power, ousting B(C)di(C). Ouattara returned to C´te d'Ivoire after three months in France on 29 December, hailing B(C)di(C)'s ouster as "not a coup d'(C)tat", but "a revolution supported by all the Ivorian people".
A new constitution, approved by referendum in July 2000, controversially barred presidential candidates unless both of their parents were Ivorian, and Ouattara was disqualified from the 2000 presidential election. The issues surrounding this were major factors in the Civil war in C´te d'Ivoire, which broke out in 2002.
When asked in an interview about Ouattara's nationality, Burkinab(C) President Capt. Blaise Compaor(C) responded, "For us things are simple: he does not come from Burkina Faso, neither by birth, marriage, or naturalization. This man has been Prime Minister of C´te d'Ivoire."
President Gbagbo affirmed on 6 August 2007 that Ouattara could stand in the next Ivorian presidential election. Ouattara was designated as the RDR's presidential candidate at its Second Ordinary Congress on 1''3 February 2008; he was also re-elected as President of the RDR for another five years. At the congress, he invited the former rebel New Forces, from whom he had previously distanced himself, to team up with the RDR for the election.
At the time, Ouattara said publicy that he did not believe Gbagbo would organize transparent and fair elections. (He was right because the north was occupied by armed rebels.)
The RDR and the PDCI are both members of the Rally of Houphoutistes, and while Ouattara and B(C)di(C) ran separately in the first round, each agreed to support the other if only the other made it into a potential second round.
2010 presidential election and aftermathThe presidential elections that should have been organized in 2005 were postponed until November 2010. The preliminary results announced by the Electoral Commission showed a loss for Gbagbo in favour of his rival, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara. The ruling FPI contested the results before the Constitutional Council, charging massive fraud in the northern departments controlled by the rebels of the Forces Nouvelles de C´te d'Ivoire (FNCI). These charges were contradicted by international observers. The report of the results led to severe tension and violent incidents. The Constitutional Council, which consists of Gbagbo supporters, declared the results of seven northern departments unlawful and that Gbagbo had won the elections with 51% of the vote (instead of Ouattara winning with 54%, as reported by the Electoral Commission). After the inauguration of Gbagbo, Ouattara, recognized as the winner by most countries and the United Nations, organized an alternative inauguration. These events raised fears of a resurgence of the civil war; thousands of refugees have fled the country. The African Union sent Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, to mediate the conflict. The United Nations Security Council adopted a common resolution recognising Alassane Ouattara as winner of the elections, based on the position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS suspended Ivory Coast from all its decision-making bodies while the African Union also suspended the country's membership. In 2010, a Colonel of the Ivory Coast armed forces, Nguessan Yao was arrested in New York in a year-long U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation charging for procuring and illegal export weapons and munitions of 4,000 9-mm handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition and 50,000 tear-gas grenades, in violation of UN embargo. Several other Ivory Coast officers were released for their diplomatic passports. His accomplice, Michael Barry Shor, an international trader, was located in Virginia.
After months of unsuccessful negotiations and sporadic violence, the crisis entered a critical stage as Ouattara's forces seized control of most of the country, with Gbagbo entrenched in Abidjan, the country's largest city. International organizations reported numerous instances of human rights violations by both sides. In the city of Du(C)kou(C), hundreds of people were estimated to have been killed, predominantly by advancing pro-Ouattara militias. In nearby Blolequin, dozens of people were killed, reportedly by retreating Liberian mercenaries who had been hired by pro-Gbagbo forces. UN and French forces took military action against Gbagbo. Gbagbo was taken into custody after a raid into his residence on 11 April. It was initially thought he was captured by French forces, however Ouattara's envoy to the UN claimed it was their forces who captured him, and the French deny any involvement in his arrest. The country was severely damaged by the war, and observers consider that it will be a challenge for Ouattara to rebuild the economy and reunite Ivorians.
The developments in the country have been welcomed by world leaders. U.S. President Barack Obama applauded news of the latest developments in C´te d'Ivoire and CNN quoted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying Gbagbo's capture "sends a strong signal to dictators and tyrants.... They may not disregard the voice of their own people".
Second presidency term, 2015''presentAlassan Ouattara won a second five-year term with almost 84% of the vote. With 2,118,229 votes, or 83.66% of votes cast, and a 54.63% turnout Mr. Ouattara's victory is a landslide compared to the 50% required to avoid a run-off and the 9% of his closest rival Pascal Affi N'Guessan
2012 marriage law rowIn a controversial move in November 2012, President Ouattara sacked his government in a row over a new marriage law that would make wives joint heads of the household. His own party supported the changes but the elements of the ruling coalition resisted, with the strongest opposition coming from the Democratic Party of C´te d'Ivoire.
References^ ab"Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara in profile", BBC News Online, 11 April 2011.^ abcdefProfile at IMF website at the Wayback Machine (archived December 21, 2005), 12 December 2005.^ abcdefghCV at Ouattara's website(French).^"A tale of 2 presidents". CBC News. 25 March 2011. ^"Gbagbo: Preventing ECOWAS military misadventure in Cote d'Ivoire". ^Aislinn Laing, "Ivory Coast: Alassane Ouattara profile", The Telegrah, 6 April 2011.^ ab"C´te d'Ivoire's new president - The king of Kong - Alassane Ouattara takes charge but can he keep the peace?"The Economist, 20 April 2011.^"La revanche des Ouattara". Le Parisien, 17 April 2011.^ abc"Basic texts and milestones", bceao.int.^"Houphout-Boigny et ADO: du comit(C) interminist(C)riel la Primature", ado.ci (French).^"D(C)c¨s du Pr(C)sident F(C)lix Houphout-Boigny", ado.ci (French).^"African Leader Dies", Newsday, 8 December 1993.^"Prime minister decides to quit", Associated Press (San Antonio Express-News), 10 December 1993.^ abcMundt, Robert J. (1997). "C´te d'Ivoire: Continuity and Change in a Semi-Democracy". In Clark, John Frank; Gardinier, David E. Political Reform in Francophone Africa. Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 194''197. ISBN 0-8133-2785-7. ^"Jul 1995 - Selection of Ouattara as RDR presidential candidate", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 41, July 1995 Cote d'Ivoire, p. 40630.^Coulibaly Brahima, "C´te d'Ivoire: Organisation du 2¨me congr¨s ordinaire du Rdr, des cadres manoeuvrent pour le report", Nord-Sud (allAfrica.com), 27 July 2007 (French).^"ADO est (C)lu Pr(C)sident du RDR, le 1er Ao>>t 1999", ado.ci (French).^"Oct 1995 - Presidential elections", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 41, October 1995 Cote d'Ivoire, p. 40759.^"Ivorian ex-premier to quit IMF for return to politics", BBC News Online, 30 March 1998.^Biography at Ouattara's website(French).^"Ivorian opposition elects former premier as presidential candidate", Associated Press, 1 August 1999.^"C´te d'Ivoire: Police arrest scores outside politician's home", IRIN, 15 September 1999.^"Ivory Coast opposition leader under investigation", BBC News Online, 22 September 1999.^"C´te d'Ivoire: Former political foes strike pact to oust Gbagbo", IRIN, 18 May 2005.^ ab"Cote d'Ivoire: Court annuls presidential candidate's nationality certificate", AFP, 27 October 1999.^"Opposition leader blasts 'undemocratic' government", BBC News Online, 29 October 1999.^"C´te d'Ivoire: Arrest warrant issued for opposition politician", IRIN, 9 December 1999.^"Ivory Coast coup a 'popular revolution'", BBC News Online, 29 December 1999.^"COTE D'IVOIRE: Former Prime Minister returns home", IRIN, 4 January 2000.^"Jul 2000 '' Referendum on new constitution", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 46, July 2000 Cote d'Ivoire, p. 43661.^Daddieh, Cyril K. (2001). "Elections and Ethnic Violence in C´te d'Ivoire: The Unfinished Business of Succession and Democratic Transition". African Issues29 (1''2): 14''19. doi:10.2307/1167104. ^"La pr(C)sidentielle envisag(C)e par Gbagbo pour fin 2007", L'Humanit(C), 8 August 2007 (French).^ ab"Alassane Ouattara prªt s'associer aux ex-rebelles", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), 3 February 2008.^""We Don't Believe Gbagbo Will Organise Transparent Elections" Michael Deibert interviews Alassane Ouattara". Inter Press Service. October 23, 2007. ^Thalia Griffiths (11 April 2011). "The war is over '' but Ouattara's struggle has barely begun". London: The Guardian. ^"Obama, Clinton welcome new developments". CNN. 11 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011. ^Ouattara dissolves Ivorian government over marriage law, United Kingdom: BBC News, 2012, retrieved 16 November 2012 External links(French)Alassane Ouattara.com Political Web site from Ouattara's circle of influence.
Why Burkina Faso's Coup Is A Disaster For Africa
Sun, 17 Jan 2016 07:20
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Amilitary coupthrew Burkina Faso back into political turmoil this week, less than a year after a popular uprising ousted a long-serving autocrat and brought hopes of democratic change in the West African nation.
The country was preparing for its first democratic elections, scheduled for Oct. 11, sincepopular protests ended the 27-year ruleof former President Blaise Compaore last October.
But on Wednesday, soldiers burst into a cabinet meeting and took the country's interim President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and two government ministers captive.
The coup leaders, calling themselves the National Council for Democracy, appeared on Burkinabe television on Thursday to announce that they had taken power. Thousands poured onto the streets around the country to protest the coup.
"I am worried and against the putschists. We are demonstrating because we want the [democratic] transition process to unfold," protester Aissata Kabor told Reuters.
At least six people were killed and 60 were wounded when security forces opened fire on the protesters.
The junta said Friday they hadfreed Kafandoand his ministers, but were keeping Zida under house arrest. Protests against the power grab continued in cities around the country, and union leaders announced a nationwide strike.
Here's the story behind the dramatic turn of events in Burkina Faso, and what it means for the country and the rest of the Africa.
Theo Renaut/Associated Press People rallied outside the presidential palace on Wednesday after soldiers arrested Burkina Faso's transitional president and prime minister.Who's behind the coup?The coup was carried out by members of the presidential guard, known by its French acronym RSP. As the BBC's Lamine Konkoboexplains, the elite unit was set up for self-protection by Compaore and is seen as still loyal to the former president.
The RSP frequently operates independently from other forces, and it was not yet clear how much support they had from the rest of the military.
Compaore is living in exile in the Ivory Coast. He has so far kept silent on the coup and the juntadenied he was in any way involved, although some fear he could be quietly planning to stage a comeback.
Whatever Compaore's role, the seizure of power was led by his closest political ally. Gen. Gilbert Diendere, named Thursday as chairman of the so-called National Council for Democracy, was Compaore's right-hand man during his nearly three decades of autocratic rule.
"He became Compaore's shadow," Rinaldo Depagne, West Africa project director for the International Crisis Group,told Reuters. "He's kind of a Burkinabe J. Edgar Hoover. Diendere is a master of intelligence, information, organisation and control."
Ahmed Ouoba/Getty Images Gen. Gilbert Diendere was named leader of the military junta on Thursday.What do they want?The generals claimed to be acting in the interest of the country, saying that the upcoming elections would be too divisive because Compaore's supporters were barred from running. The transitional government passed an electoral law in April blocking members of Compaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress party -- and anyone who supported his bid to extend his rule last year -- from elected office.
However, the unit may have had even more pressing concerns -- to stop the interim government disbanding it. Two days before the coup, the government's national reconciliation commission hadrecommended the RSP be dissolved and its members integrated into the national force, saying it had become"an army within an army."
Tensions between the RSP and the transitional government had been brewing for months. Senior RSP officersdemanded that Prime Minister Zida resign in June after he called for the unit to be disbanded. Zida, a former RSP commander himself, expressed concern that he was under threat, and began to moderate his criticism of the RSP.
The unit is controversial on many fronts. The regular army resents theprivileges and money lavishedon the elite guard under the previous president. Human rights groupsaccuse it of having used excessive force during the peaceful uprising of 2014, in which at least 24 people were killed. Thousands of protesters attendedrallies against the RSPin Burkina Faso earlier this year, accusing the unit of meddling in politics and intimidating the general population.
Credit: Theo Renaut/Associated Press At least six people were killed and 60 wounded in protests against the coup on Thursday.What happens next?The generals have pledged not to stay in power long and said they will just oversee preparations for more inclusive elections. Analysts, however, say it's unlikely elections will go ahead as scheduled. Politicians and civil society have reacted in outrage.
The speaker of the transitional parliament, Cheriff Sy, declared himself the country's leader Thursday, and urged the rest of the military not to support the coup.
Regional leaders rushed to negotiate a way out of the crisis. Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin, representing the Economic Community of West African States,arrivedin the country on Friday to oversee mediation efforts.
History suggests that this coup may not last long, Denver University research fellow Jonathan Pinckney writes in Foreign Policy. The combination of massive public protests and political opposition, as seen in Burkina Faso, has in the past stopped the military uniting behind coup leaders, he explains. And the RSP, a force of around only 1,300, will need the rest of the military's support to keep control of the country.
Even so, there is no simple way to resolve the crisis, as neither side has much willingness to negotiate, International Crisis Group West Africa Analyst Cynthia Ohayonpoints out. She does believe public opposition and international pressure will eventually force a solution, but argues that it may take some time.
Will the effects of the coup be felt outside the country?Burkina Faso is aclose military allyof the U.S. and France in their fight against extremist militants in the region, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Qaeda linked groups in Mali. So, world powers have an interest in preserving their alliance, and ensuring the country remains stable.
More immediately, the coup is also a symbolic setback for Africans struggling for democratic change across the continent. The peaceful ouster of Compaore last year gave hopeto democracy advocates in several African countries -- including Angola, Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- where long-standing leaders continue to cling to power. Some protesters predicted a ''Black Spring'' in Africa.
The coup hurts all African democrats, Ohayon explains:
If the elections had taken place smoothly, this would have been a huge step forward for the country and this could have set a precedent for other countries. But the uncertainty that now prevails means Burkina Faso could be thrown back years in terms of democratisation. This will be used as an argument by autocratic leaders to show that when they leave power, instability automatically follows.
Related on HuffPost:
People protesting against the recent coup in the street as they walk among the burnt remains of tires in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015.(AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
People protesting against the recent coup in the street as they walk among the burnt remains of tires in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015.(AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
People protesting against a recent coup in the street of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
A young boy carrying a wooden stick as tiers burn, in background, as he and others protest against a recent coup in the street of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
Burkina Faso protestors take to the streets in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
Residents burn tires along a street in Ouagadougou on September 17, 2015. (AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
AHMED OUOBA via Getty Images
Burkina Faso's troops patroll in Ouagadougou on September 17, 2015. (AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
AHMED OUOBA via Getty Images
Burkina Faso protestors shout out as they take to the streets in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)
A Burkina Faso protestor holds a loaded slingshot as others gesture, in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)