Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore will probably extend his 23-year rule in an election on Nov. 21, expanding policies that boosted gold output this year in one of the world’s poorest countries.
“Our view is that Compaore will win overwhelmingly again, but this time probably slightly less than the 80 percent he got last time,” said Oswald Felli, director of risk assessments at New York-based DaMina Advisors.
The landlocked country, Africa’s biggest cotton grower, has been ruled by Compaore, 59, since he seized power in 1987. The economy is “heavily dependent” on exports of cotton and gold, according to the African Development Bank. Growth is projected to accelerate to 5.5 percent in 2011 from 5.2 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said on Oct. 1.
In June, Mines Minister Abdoulaye Abdoulkader Cisse said gold output would surge 60 percent to 20 metric tons this year and that the country wanted to lure companies including Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp. and Brazil’s Vale SA. London-based Avocet Mining Plc operates the Inata gold mine in the country and Canada’s Endeavour Mining Corp. controls the Youga mine.
Cotton production may rise 29 percent to 195,950 metric tons during the 2010-11 harvest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Stability and Poverty
“Compaore is very likely going to want to continue the relative stability he has brought to the Burkina Faso economy,” Felli said in an e-mail yesterday. “He will focus on increasing gold production by creating attractive incentives for foreign investors.”
Supporters of the leading opposition candidate, Benewende Sankara, may protest what they say is Compaore’s inability to address poverty and unemployment, Felli said.
Burkina Faso is ranked 161st out of 169 countries on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, education and income.
In 2005, the country’s Constitutional Court allowed Compaore to run for a third election, saying that new limits on the presidential term were not retroactive, according to the U.S. State Department. In August, Compaore’s ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress party proposed scrapping terms limits.
Compaore will probably continue to play the role of regional mediator in West Africa, Felli said. He has been involved in negotiating an end to conflicts in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Togo.
Voting will open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21, said Borice Edson Yameogo, spokesman of the country’s electoral commission. Results may be published within five days of the ballot, he said in a phone interview on Nov. 17.
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