Home » Burkina Faso Shakes Up Cabinet, Appoints New Mining Chief

Burkina Faso Shakes Up Cabinet, Appoints New Mining Chief

The West African nation faces multiple challenges, including a violent insurgency, a humanitarian crisis, and a struggling economy.

by Motoni Olodun

Burkina Faso’s military leader Ibrahim Traore has announced a cabinet reshuffle that includes the appointment of a new mining and energy minister, Yacouba Zabre Gouba, according to a statement on state broadcaster RTB Sunday.

Gouba replaces Jean-Pierre Boussim, who has held the portfolio since 2022. The reshuffle comes amid a worsening security situation in the West African nation, where Islamist militants have stepped up attacks on civilians and security forces.

Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s top gold producers, with the sector accounting for about 60% of its export earnings and 10% of its gross domestic product. However, the industry has been hit by a decline in output, partly due to the impact of the Ukraine crisis, which disrupted global supply chains and caused a spike in energy prices.

The new mining minister will face the challenge of reviving the sector and implementing a revised mining code that aims to increase the government’s share of royalties in times of high gold prices. The code, which was adopted in October 2023, also introduces new environmental and social standards for mining companies.

According to the World Bank, Burkina Faso’s economy grew by 2.7% in 2022, down from 5.7% in 2021, and is projected to grow by 4.9% in 2023. The bank said that the country needs to diversify its economy, improve its governance, and address the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict.

The cabinet reshuffle also saw the appointment of new ministers for defense, justice, foreign affairs, health, education, and agriculture, among others. Traore said that the new team will work to restore peace and stability, respond to the needs of the population, and prepare for the next elections, scheduled for 2025.

Traore came to power in September 2022, after leading a coup that ousted former transition president Paul-Henri Damiba, who had himself seized power in January 2022, following a popular uprising that toppled former president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The international community has condemned the coups and called for a return to civilian rule and respect for human rights. The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have imposed sanctions on the junta and its members, including travel bans and asset freezes.

However, some analysts have argued that the sanctions are counterproductive and could worsen the humanitarian situation and fuel the insurgency. They have urged for dialogue and cooperation with the military authorities, who have pledged to respect the transition charter and the constitution.

Burkina Faso, which means “land of the upright people” in the local languages, has a history of political instability and military interventions since gaining independence from France in 1960. The country is also known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant civil society.

Despite the challenges, many Burkinabe remain hopeful that their country can overcome the current crisis and achieve lasting peace and democracy.

Source: Bloomberg


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