Russia helps Burkina Faso go nuclear
Only one in five citizens of Burkina Faso has access to electricity, making it one of the least electrified countries in the world. It also has one of the highest electricity costs on the continent. The landlocked country gets one-third of its total energy supplies from petroleum products, 2% from coal, and the remainder from biofuels, chiefly wood and charcoal. The nuclear plant would help the Burkinabe government meet its goal of attaining 95% electricity access for urban areas and 50% for rural areas by 2030.
The plant would also help cement ties between Moscow and Ouagadougou. Traore, who took power in a coup just last year, needs assistance to battle Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. In May, Traore hailed Russia as a key strategic ally while denying that he had retained the services of Russia’s Wagner Group. But analysts say he doesn’t have much choice and will likely go down the same road as neighboring Mali, which hired Wagner in 2021, and the military junta in neighboring Niger, which has made overtures to the mercenary group since taking power in July.
Moscow, meanwhile, needs allies in Africa to shore up support for its side in its war in Ukraine. It is eager to fill the vacuum created by France’s military withdrawal from all three Sahel nations, where anti-colonial sentiment is on the rise.Russia is also helping Egypt build a nuclear power plant and is committed to building another in Nigeria.