Monday, January 25, 2016

Challenges and opportunities for new president of Burkina Faso

The Monkey Cage has a nice post by Arsène Brice Bado summarizing the challenges facing Burkina Faso's first president in nearly 30 years.

It's a short article/listicle, so you might want as well go ahead and take a look, but here it is in 30 seconds or less:

  1. Security
  2. Poor governance in politics and the bureaucracy
  3. Prosecution of crimes committed by predecessor
  4. Poverty and disenchanted youth
  5. Rebuilding of relations with neighbors allied to predecessor
Numbers 1, 2, and 4 are pretty common problems for African presidents, and have been since independence. Burkina Faso is pretty extreme on the poverty front - it's among the 20 poorest countries in the world. Numbers 3 and 5 are a little more specific to Burkina Faso. 

Here are his three reasons for optimism:
  1. Political legitimacy
  2. Kaboré is a conciliatory figure
  3. Kaboré has a "New Deal"-type program with 5 pillars: 
    1.  institutional reforms, including the drafting of a new constitution; 
    2. a new development model based on strengthening human capital; 
    3. promotion of information and communication technologies; 
    4. strengthening private entrepreneurship and reducing unemployment; and 
    5. reduction of socioeconomic inequalities.
Number 1 is good but Number 2 might be even more helpful - the two together are a good combination. Being conciliatory while prosecuting crimes that some current political elites may have been involved in will be a tough nut, though. 

The 5-pillar program sounds to me like pretty standard rhetoric - the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. 

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