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General strike to be held by unions in Burkina Faso


General strike to be held by unions in Burkina Faso

BurkinaFaso Reuters
Photo: Reuters

As Burkina Faso struggles with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, a two-day general strike will begin today in Ouagadougou in opposition to public sector wage cuts.

The strike follows protests in March that saw 200,000 people assemble to protest similar wage cuts. Ongoing security operations targeting jihadists in the Sahel region have siphoned resources and stopped development of the country’s National Plan for Economic and Social Development. These diverted resources have also muzzled Ouagadougou’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with a projected 4% economic contraction due to the virus, it is turning to the IMF for relief totalling $115 million to stabilise the economy. Public union demands will not be met in their entirety, but the continued pressure will likely force small concessions.

Burkinabe socio-economic problems stem from a lack of private sector investment, but Burkina Faso has the advantage of having lower levels of corruption than its neighbours and one of Africa’s best corporate governance frameworks for private investors. If Ouagadougou is able to pacify public unrest and work towards broadening opportunities for private investment, risk-averse capital flight could be stemmed and the Burkinabe economy will be in a stronger position in 2021.

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