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Burkina Faso’s Compaore Plans Mining, Cotton Boost in New Term

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore wants to lure investment in gold mining and boost cotton production during his new five-year term as leader of one of the world’s poorest counties.

“We are going to guarantee a healthy climate for business,” Compaore, 59, said in his inauguration speech in Ouagadougou, the capital, today. He won a Nov. 21 election with 80 percent of ballots, extending his 23-year rule of the West African nation.

Burkina Faso, Africa’s largest producer of cotton, is “heavily dependent” on exports of the fiber and of gold, according to the African Development Bank. Burkina Faso plans to boost cotton production 55 percent to 500,000 metric tons next year, said Celestin Tiendrebeogo, chief executive officer of the state-controlled cotton company, Societes Burkinabe des Fibres Textiles, or Sofitex.

In June, Mines Minister Abdoulaye Abdoulkader Cisse said the country wanted to lure companies including Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp. and Brazil’s Vale SA. Avocet Mining Plc, based in London, operates the Inata gold mine in the country and Canada’s Endeavour Mining Corp. controls the Youga mine.

Opposition leaders have protested the results, organizing a rally in the capital yesterday to call for the outcome to be canceled, said Benewende Sankara, who was among the candidates that ran against Compaore. Two days after the election, a group of opposition candidates alleged irregularities in the vote, though observers from the African Union said the ballot was transparent. In August, Compaore’s ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress Party proposed scrapping presidential term limits.

Economic Growth

Landlocked Burkina Faso has an annual gross domestic product per capita of $517, less than the sub-Saharan African average of $624, according to the World Bank. It ranks 161 out of 169 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, literary and standards of living. The country’s economy is expected to grow 5.5 percent in 2011, from 5.2 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said Oct. 1.

Prices for cotton have more than doubled this year on concern that global supplies will not meet demand. Cotton for March delivery gained the daily limit today, adding 4 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $1.5412 a pound by 10:19 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

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