New Burkina Faso President highlights areas of focus
Burkina Faso’s newly sworn-in president Roch Marc Kabore has highlighted the economy and social governance and jobs for the young and women among the priorities for his government.
The former prime minister took office on Tuesday as the country’s first new leader in almost 30 years following his election last month.
The ceremony at an indoor stadium in the capital marks a pivotal moment in a democratic transition in the West African country after veteran leader Blaise Compaore was overthrown in a popular uprising in October 2014.
Most of the country’s leaders since independence from France in 1960 have come to power through coups, including Compaore in 1987 and his predecessor Thomas Sankara four years earlier. Kabore served under Compaore but went into opposition in 2014.
The election could serve as an example to other countries in Africa, where veteran rulers in Burundi, Rwanda and Congo Republic have changed the constitution to allow the extension of their mandates through the ballot box.
“In any case, the task of being the President of a country is always, even though exciting, a very difficult one. I must let you know that we inherit a context that is not simple at all in terms of economy and finance so we have challenge ahead of us and with the government we are going to work towards taking on those challenges,” said the newly inaugurated Kabore.
Landlocked Burkina Faso produces cotton and gold but remains impoverished. Its economy has slowed due to lower global commodity prices and reduced investment during the democratic transition that began after Compaore fell.
“I would say, what we have to work on initially is the establishment of good economic and social governance, I would say this first issue is important, then we have to work on education, health, clean water, agriculture, therefore we have to boost the economy in order to create jobs for the youth, women, et cetra. It is very important we work on that,” he added
The government said the economy will expand by 4 to 4.5 percent this year a World Bank figure of 6 percent growth in 2014.
The swearing-in marks the end of an interim government that held power in the wake of Compaore’s overthrow. Soldiers from the elite presidential guard staged a short-lived coup in September in which they took the transitional president hostage.
Authorities arrested around 20 soldiers for plotting to free from prison a prominent general, Gilbert Diendere, charged with staging that coup, the transitional government said.
The interim government oversaw progress in investigations into the murder of Sankara, whose death is one of the most notorious killings in Africa’s independence history. Diendere has been charged over the crime and authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for Compaore.
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