Political crisis in Burkina Faso: internal and external factors of destabilization

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Political crisis in Burkina Faso: internal and external factors of destabilization
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2023. No 2 (65). P. 73-90
DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2023-2-73-90

Abstract. The article examines the causes of and prerequisites for the political crisis in Burkina Faso that became almost permanent during the years of its independent development. Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s poorest countries and has witnessed eight military coups, including two in 2022. By the end of the 2010s, it found itself at the epicenter of the Sahel crisis. Burkina Faso also changed its foreign policy orientation, abandoning the neocolonial dependence on France, and adopted a series of economic development plans. The authors analyze military, political and socio economic factors of the emergence of this political crisis against the backdrop of weakening state power, primarily in peripheral areas affected by armed conflict. The article also considers the problem of interference of external actors in the political life of Burkina Faso and the reaction of Economic Community of West African States to a series of military coups in the country. Special attention is paid to the role of tribal militias Koglweogo self defense groups and other similar organizations in the current conflict with Islamists in the northern regions of the country. It is noted that in areas under control of the rebels or, on the contrary, pro government non state actors (militias), the war economy is developing at a rapid pace, and the population is creating new local “self governance” structures that emerge as an alternative to the state power and are led by field commanders. It is concluded that the situation in the country resembles a vicious circle: successive governments are unable to implement development projects due to political instability, while weak economic development, in turn, causes political instability. At the same time, the ongoing strengthening of contacts between Burkina Faso and Russia generates hopes among residents of this West African country for finding a solution to the long term military and political crisis in foreseeable future.

Keywords: Burkina Faso, Sahel zone, armed conflicts, political crisis, military coups, Islamist movements, socio economic situation


About author

Tatyana Denisova is a lead researcher, head of the Center for Tropical African Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Sergey Kostelyanets is a lead researcher, head of the Center for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.


For citation:
Denisova T., Kostelyanets S. Political crisis in Burkina Faso: internal and external factors of destabilization // Pathways to Peace and Security. 2023. No 2 (65). P. 73-90. https://doi.org/10.20542/2307-1494-2023-2-73-90



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2023, No. 2 (65)
  • - INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AT THE CROSSROADS
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