US halts aid to Burkina Faso after coup

US halts aid to Burkina Faso after coup

The United States has halted nearly $160 million in US aid to Burkina Faso after determining the January ouster of President Roch Kabore constituted a military coup, triggering aid restrictions under US law, a State Department spokesperson said.

The Department made the determination, which had not been previously reported, after “careful review,” the spokesperson said.

The decision was made in line with a US law under which the country’s foreign aid – except funds to promote democracy – must be stopped to a country whose elected head of government is deposed by military coup or in a coup in which the military plays a decisive role.

In a notice to Congress, the State Department said it was exploring the possibility of overcoming the aid restrictions when in the US national interest, notably to provide lifesaving assistance in the health sector.

“Most assistance to Burkina Faso have been paused after the country’s military leader Paul-Henri Damiba led a junta that on January 24 overthrew Kabore,” the State Department said on January 31.

However, Washington has not formally declared that the events in the West African country amounted to a coup and has not made a final decision on the fate of the aid.

Separately, Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.

S.

government foreign assistance agency, said on its website that on January 31, it had paused activity related to a compact agreement signed in August 2020 for $450 million in funding to Burkina Faso.

Such an agreement typically covers a five-year period.

Damiba was sworn in as president this week.

He had cited Kabore’s inability to curb an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people and forced more than one million people to flee their homes in the West African country.

Military takeovers
The military coup in Burkina Faso followed takeovers in Mali, Guinea and Chad since 2020, raising fears of coup contagion among regional leaders.

It has also weakened France’s West Africa alliances, given three of the coups – in Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso – have taken place in ex-French colonies.

The takeovers have also emboldened jihadists who control large swathes of territory and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

 
Reuters/Olajumoke Adeleke
US halts aid to Burkina Faso after coup

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