Russia Always Helps Africa in Its Struggle for Independence, Ambassador to Burkina Faso Says

On December 28, 2023, the Russian embassy in Ouagadougou resumed its operations after a 31-year hiatus. According to Karamoko Jean-Marie Traore, Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, the move indicates the “strengthening of diplomatic relations” between the countries, adding that Russia is “a truly strategic partner” for the West African country.

Russia will always offer assistance to African nations in their pursuit of independence and strengthening their sovereignty, Russian Ambassador to Burkina Faso Igor Martynov told Sputnik Africa.

“We see the growing desire of the peoples of Africa, and especially the countries of the Sahel, to restore independence, liberation from Western colonial yoke and equitable development,” he said. “Russia always extends a helping hand to African peoples in the struggle for independence and strengthening of sovereignty.”

This assistance also includes supporting Burkina Faso in its fight against the terrorist threat in the country. Despite the difficult situation in the country from the security point of view, the country’s leadership is doing everything necessary to fix the situation, with reliable support from Russia, Martynov noted.

“The leadership of Burkina Faso, led by President Ibrahim Traore, is taking vigorous measures to restore order in the country, restore security, and respect human rights. Russia plays an important role in providing assistance in this fight,” he said.

The activities of terrorist organizations, along with drought, have also left part of the population of Burkina Faso virtually without food. Russia decided to help the people and last year delivered 25,000 tonnes of grain to Burkina Faso free of charge.

During the delivery, Russia studied routes for future supplies of not only of grain, but also of fertilizers, with the aim of further developing relations between the two countries in the field of agriculture, Martynov noted.

“We intend to actively attract Russian business to work in Burkina Faso’s agro-industrial sector to help local farmers improve their agriculture. Our plans include supplies of agricultural machinery, including from friendly Belarus, for Burkinabe farmers,” he said.

Furthermore, the Russian Crimean Peninsula is interested in exchanging business missions and establishing close trade and economic cooperation.

“It is quite possible that the first mission, a business mission, from Crimea to Burkina Faso will take place this year. Of course, the parties are working to fill the activities of the joint trade and economic commission,” the ambassador added.

Russia and the African country also plan to cooperate in such a strategically important area as the use of peaceful nuclear energy. In March, the Russian corporation Rosatom signed a roadmap with Burkina Faso.

“The road map defines specific steps to create the human resources potential of the West African country in the field of peaceful nuclear energy, develop nuclear infrastructure and create a positive public opinion regarding nuclear energy in Burkina Faso and other African countries. The parties expect to build a nuclear power plant by 2030,” the ambassador shared the details.


Russia’s Influence to Be Positive for African People, Head of Russian House in Burkina Faso Says

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Cooperation between the countries is also growing in the cultural and educational spheres. On the anniversary of the victory over Germany in World War II, on May 9, an exhibition “10 Years of War in Donbass” was opened in Burkina Faso, which tells about “the atrocities and inhumane attitude of the Kiev authorities and the genocide of the Russian people” in the region, Martynov explained.

He added that in exploring this exhibition, Burkinabe can relate it in a parallel to their own history.

“The collective West diligently hides the truth about the war crimes of the Kiev regime and the real events in the Donbass. Local [Burkinabe] residents can find direct parallels between the events in Donbass and the policies pursued by France and other Western countries to prevent the free development of African countries,” the diplomat said.

Ambitious projects are also planned in the field of education. In December last year, Vadim Lobov, the president of the Russian Synergy Corporation, which owns the university of the same name, agreed with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso to open a branch of Synergy University in Burkina Faso.

In addition to opening a branch, the university will be involved in a number of other projects.

“The university will join the project to create virtual universities in Burkina Faso, which specialize in online education. Russia will provide its digital platforms for this. The university will train teaching staff to work in the digital, educational spheres, participate in the creation of a national career guidance system and testing future teachers, creating school education in Burkina Faso, online school education, helping Burkinabe people choose a profession,” said Martynov.

Such initiatives, the diplomat noted, will help not only strengthen relations between the two countries in the humanitarian sphere, but will also “help in the development of digital technologies and the national education system of Burkina Faso.”

“We [the embassy] will do our best to promote this project,” Martynov promised.

Based on all of the above, there is a trend that both the government and the people of Burkina Faso (and not only of this country) have an increasingly positive attitude towards Russia. Sputnik Africa asked the ambassador what could be the reason for this.

Martynov believed that this is due to Russia’s “open” and “non-discriminatory” approach to cooperation with Africa.

“Russia’s policy towards African states has always remained and was based on the principles of non-interference, mutual respect and honest cooperation. Our strong stance towards Western states exhibiting neo-colonial ambitions has long been known to the African world. The Burkinabe people see and understand that well,” the diplomat concluded.

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