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Burkina Faso - Foreign Relations

Burkina Faso has excellent relations with European aid donors. France and the European Union, in particular, provide significant aid. Other donors with large bilateral aid programs include Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.

France and Burkina Faso have a history of strong relations. Their bilateral relations are currently governed by the partnership framework document signed in November 2013 for the period 2013-2015, which establishes sustainable development, human development, agriculture and food security as priority issues. This is coupled with extensive security and defence cooperation. All of this cooperation was briefly suspended during the attempted coup in September 2015.

In view of the security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara region and Burkinabe involvement in peacekeeping operations, there is extensive security and defence cooperation between France and Burkina Faso. The latter hosts two regionally-oriented national schools financed by French cooperation, which take in trainees from third countries: ISEPC, the higher education institute for civil protection, and EMTO, the technical military academy. In addition, in the framework of Operation Barkhane, which was launched in August 2014, France has a base of operations in Ouagadougou.

With exports totalling €269 million in 2014, France is one of Burkina Faso’s main suppliers. In particular, it provides pharmaceutical products, machines and engines, and grains. French imports, meanwhile, totalled €43 million in 2014. Burkina Faso’s leading customer is, by far, Switzerland, which buys gold. Around one hundred French businesses are present in Burkina Faso. French foreign direct investment in Burkina Faso totalled €97 million in 2012. It was mainly focused on industry, banking and insurance, and construction.

France is the second-largest bilateral donor of development assistance to Burkina Faso (€44 million in 2014). The latter is a priority country for French development assistance.

The partnership framework document signed in November 2013 for 2013-2015 identifies priority areas relating to sustainable development (energy, drinking water, sanitation), human development (education, healthcare, family planning), agriculture and food security (land tenure, food security, combating malnutrition), governance (decentralization, mobilizing resources) and cultural cooperation (promoting cultural exchanges). France had committed to providing between €260 million and €305 million over that period.

Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso have for a long time had relations in history. Their relations have many connections. A large Burkinabé community currently lives in Cote d'Ivoire – they're estimated to be roughly 4 million. The Ivory Coast had great natural wealth, but lacked labor. The Upper Volta had little wealth, but was densely populated.

The relationship between Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso has over the first decade in the new century been tense. This was after the role Burkina Faso reportedly played in supporting the rebellion in Cote d'Ivoire that started in 2002. There was also information of weapons coming from Burkina Faso that fuelled the conflict. Ivoirians consider the MPP party [Movement of People for Progress] and Roch Marc Kaboré, as a traitor because he was one of the key figures of the ruling CDP party, and then he decided to join protesters who were against Blaise Compaoré's bid to seek a third term in office. The report by the commission set up by Burkina Faso’s transition government to investigate the coup concluded that General Diendere received external support, especially from Côte d'Ivoire.

Burkina Faso recognizes Taiwan. President Compaore was active in sub-regional diplomacy in West Africa. He was elected in January 2007 to be Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has acted as a mediator in political crises in neighboring Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and most recently Mali. From January 2008 to December 2009, Burkina Faso was a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Burkina also plays a role regional in peacekeeping operations, having sent two battalions and one company to Darfur under a UNAMID/African Union mandate. As of July 2011 it deployed 1,048 peacekeepers to four UN missions (MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, UNMIS, and UNAMID).





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