Burkina Faso - Future trends

Militancy on the part of trade unions and human rights organizations is likely to continue, despite concessions announced by President Campaore in 1999. These concessions include setting up an inquiry into the death of Norbert Zongo, assuring the military that their delayed housing allowances will be paid in installments, and appointing a new prime minister who has incorporated members of the opposition into his cabinet.

The new prime minister, Paramango Ernest Yonoli, appointed in October 2000, will have to prove himself to the public, particularly with regard to the task of carrying out privatization and civil service reforms in the face of trade union opposition. Yonoli announced a new cabinet that includes figures from the moderate opposition parties. Teacher and student protests have thrown the school system into chaos, and the University of Ouagadougou has been closed since the riots that followed Zongo's death. Civic groups and opposition parties have also kept up the pressure for justice. Three presidential guards finally have been imprisoned over the assassination of Zongo, but this will hardly satisfy the opposition, who want those senior figures in the government that were behind the assassination to be brought to justice.

Despite international economic aid, GDP growth is expected to slow to 4 percent in 2001, due mainly to civil unrest, which creates a climate of political instability and discourages investment, and the impact of the drought, which has resulted in poor harvests. Prospects for cotton earnings will remain sluggish, but debt relief is under way under World Bank and IMF supervision. Aid from these organizations in the form of a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative should help Burkina Faso's situation.

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