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Burkina Faso

Geopolitics

The Rush For Africa Is Getting Crowded — Who Will Be Shut Out?

African countries have shown through the Ukrainian war that their support should not be taken for granted. Chinese, Americans, Europeans and others are competing for influence on a continent that has become a global prize.

-Analysis-

PARIS — There was a time when the great powers of the world would compete against each other to conquer vast territories of the African continent. Today, they are instead vying to seduce, convince, and sometimes buy the support of countries that have never been so eagerly courted.

The 55 African States carry real value (no matter the criterion — be it economic, political, security, demographic) that leaves no one indifferent. Within two decades, China has become the lead partner of the continent, supplanting the former colonial powers; Russia is regaining its areas of influence from the old Soviet days, spearheaded by the Wagner paramilitary group; the Americans are back too; Turkey, India, Japan, and Brazil also have a dog in the fight.

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Eyes On U.S. — When African Leaders Go To Washington, China Is In The Room

-Analysis-

Some 100 of the most important political eyes in Africa aren’t turned towards the U.S. this week — they’re in the U.S. For the first time in eight years, the White House is hosting 49 African heads of state and leaders of government (and the Senegalese head of the African Union) for a U.S.-Africa summit. Not invited: any nation that has recently undergone a military putsch, or otherwise not in good standing with the African Union, like Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

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Meet Ibrahim Traoré, Russia’s Favorite New Strongman In Africa

While Russia is suffering bitter setbacks in the Ukraine war, it is successfully expanding its influence in Africa. With Burkina Faso, Moscow has succeeded in detaching another country from the French sphere of influence. The Kremlin was not only motivated by security policy, but also by digging into the resources available.

-Analysis-

Experience shows that the number of well-wishers after coups d'état is close to zero.

The situation is different for Burkina Faso's new military ruler, Ibrahim Traoré. Although he received the expected condemnation for his September 30 coup from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the West African confederation Ecowas, he also received benevolent words — from Russia.

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They came from Russian oligarch Yevgini Prigozhin, founder of the Kremlin-affiliated mercenary group Wagner.

"I congratulate and support Captain Ibrahim Traoré," the Putin loyalist announced just hours after the coup, when the whole world was still puzzling over who exactly is this soldier, who is just 34 years old and has emerged from the middle ranks of the army hierarchy.

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Putin’s New Doctrine, BoJo Bids Farewell, First COVID Inhaler

👋 Ko na mauri!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin unveils a new “Russian World” foreign policy doctrine, Liz Truss officially takes over from Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, and Instagram gets slapped with a hefty fine. Meanwhile, Spain’s Agencia SINC looks at how the distorted and often negative portrayal of women in medicine is being challenged by the research community.

[*Gilbertese, Kiribati]

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Society
Clara Le Fort

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Kharkiv Civilian Deaths, Russia Bears Down on Kyiv, More Talks Scheduled

👋 Goedendag!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine’s president calls Russian targeting of central Kharkiv a war crime, Russian troops are closing in on Kyiv and Die Welt reports from near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the rising fear following Putin’s putting nuclear forces on high alert. We also look at how countries around the world are coming around to the controversial COVID policies of Sweden.

[*Dutch]

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Geopolitics
Sophie Douce

Facing Jihadists, Burkina Faso Gambles On Village Militias

The West African country is training and arming everyday citizens to protect remote communities from terrorist groups. But some fear the strategy will lead to even more violence.

KONGOUSSI — Ousséni is proud, and as he looks out at the rust-colored hills in the province of Bam, in north-central Burkina Faso, his face lights up.

The 56-year-old farmer doesn't want to use his real name for this article. But having "finally returned" to his village after months of shock and shame, he says also feels at peace in a way he'd no longer thought possible. And that's because Ousséni feels "victorious' — in the face of the jihadists.

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blog

Burkina Faso Elects First New President In 27 Years

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré from the Movement of People for Progress was elected Burkina Faso's new president, winning more than 53% of the vote in Sunday's elections, according to an official tally late Monday night.

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blog

MSF Demands Probe, Zuckerberg Black Eye, World Ends

MSF DEMANDS KUNDUZ WAR CRIME PROBE

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it will take the unprecedented step of calling on the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to investigate Saturday's bombing by U.S. forces of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 22 people, swissinfo reports.

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blog

Burkina Military Installs General As New President

The situation in Burkina Faso was still tense Friday morning, after the rebel military installed General Gilbert Diendéré as the country's new president Thursday, just three weeks before national elections were set to take place. "So It's Him!" reads the front-page headline of the Burkinabe daily L'Observateur.

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blog
Jacques Hubert-Rodier

A Long But Not Impossible March Toward The End Of Tyranny

After Latin America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa want to bury their dictatorships. But it is an arduous and often twisted process of political revolution.

-Analysis-

PARIS — After the Arab Spring, some say the "African Spring" is coming, and there is some real evidence to support it. Citizens of Burkina Faso recently ousted President Blaise Compaore, who, 20 years after taking command of the country through a coup d'etat, hoped to maintain power by changing the constitution.

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blog
Cyril Bensimon

Burkina Faso, Sweet Revenge For 'Sankara's Children'

Thomas Sankara, the Marxist icon of the 1980s, was killed in a coup by now ousted Burkina Faso leader Compaore. Today's youth movement is still inspired by the African revolutionary.

OUAGADOUGOU — It's a mix of victory and bittersweet revenge for the generation we can call the "children of Thomas Sankara."

Burkina Faso’s current youth leaders didn’t live through the time when the Marxist revolutionary military captain led the country (from 1983 to 1987), but 27 years after the the African icon was killed, his ideas and aura continue to inspire.

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