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Faith Nyasuguta

On Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his counterpart from Burkina Faso Kassoum Coulibaly  met and agreed to enhance military alliances, Moscow disclosed.

The military leaders in Burkina Faso have strengthened their ties with Moscow, seeking to broaden their international partnerships in the wake of a coup last year.

In recent months, Russia, which has faced increasing isolation due to its actions in Ukraine, has engaged in discussions about expanding military collaboration with Burkina Faso.

Moscow has additionally committed to providing complimentary grain shipments to the African nation, which ranks among the globe’s most impoverished countries.

“Russian-Burkinabe relations are based solely on the principles of mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests, and in recent years they have gained positive dynamics,” Shoigu said, according to the ministry.

The ministry released a video showing Shoigu and Coulibaly exchanging handshakes and participating in a roundtable discussion with various officials.

“I consider today’s meeting to be another step in developing our friendly relations,” Shoigu added.

Burkinabe Kassoum Coulibaly hailed undergoing negotiations with Rusia and called them “a real practical phase”.

On October 5, Coulibaly hosted Russia’s vice-minister of Defense Iounous-Bek Evkourov in Ouagadougou. 

Both men held what Burkina Faso presidency dubbed “working meetings and experience-sharing between ministers on the one hand, and specific officials from the General Staffs of the Armies of the two countries on the other, with the aim of strengthening the skills and capabilities of the National Armed Forces.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu(right) and his counterpart from Burkina Faso Kassoum Coulibaly /Tass/

They also discussed collaboration “in the operational, economic, logistical, technological and training fields”.

In 2022, Burkina Faso experienced two military coups — both triggered in part by discontent at failures to stem a raging jihadist insurgency.

Since coming to power in September 2022, the ruling junta has distanced itself from France, its historic partner and former colonial power, and moved closer to Russia.

Weeks ago, Burkina Faso signed a deal with Russia for the construction of a nuclear power plant to increase the energy supply to the Sahel country where less than a quarter of the population has access to electricity.

While South Africa is currently the only African nation producing nuclear power on a commercial scale, more African countries are moving in the same direction. 

Russia is involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt, a project valued at $30 billion. A similar deal was signed with Nigeria in 2017 for power plant construction, though the project has yet to commence. 

Kenya has plans to build its first nuclear power plant by 2027, although it has not yet determined its international partner.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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