West African country, Burkina Faso has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear power plant.
The agreement was signed by energy and mines minister, Simon-Pierre Boussim, and Nikolay Spasskiy, Rosatom’s deputy director general on Friday in Moscow. The power plant, according to a statement by Burkina Faso’s energy ministry, will enable the country to meet its energy needs.
There was no mention of the projected nuclear power plant’s funding or construction schedule. The agreement was reached in response to a request made by Captain Ibrahim Traore, the head of the Burkina Faso junta, to Russian President, Vladimir Putin in July at the Russia-Africa meeting in St. Petersburg.
As its relationship with its erstwhile colonial power, France deteriorates, Traore, who took control in a military coup in September 2022, has grown closer to Russia, while Russia has tried to break Western isolation over the Ukrainian crisis and strengthen its influence in Africa.
According to the statement, the agreement will support the development of nuclear technology and infrastructure for Burkina Faso’s medical and agricultural uses, as well as help the country with nuclear safety and security.
Burkina Faso is fighting to curb Islamist insurgencies linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, just like its neighbours, Mali and Niger, which are also bolstering their connections with Russia, notably in terms of military cooperation.
Kenya, UAE seal economic relations deal
Thani Al Zeyoudi, the United Arab Emirate’s minister of foreign trade, has announced that his country and Kenya have reached an agreement for a comprehensive economic partnership (Cepa).
According to a social media post by Al Zeyoudi, non-oil commerce between the Gulf State and Kenya reached $3.1 billion in 2023, up 26.4% from 2022.
As part of a plan to diversify its oil-based economy, the UAE initiated bilateral trade talks with many African nations in 2022, including Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa.
“We will now look to expand across sectors, from food production and mining to technology and logistics,” he said of the agreement.
Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano was quoted by the UAE state news agency WAM as saying that the agreement would be crucial in making it possible for Kenyan exports to reach significant markets in Asia and the Middle East as well as “in stimulating investment inflows that will further develop our national capabilities.”
The UAE has inked other Cepas, including agreements with Asia’s superpowers, India and Indonesia, as well as longtime adversaries, Israel and Turkey. 2023 saw the Gulf State sign its first CEPA with two African countries, the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville and the island of Mauritius.
With over €2 million in total trade, Kenya ranked the UAE as its fourth-biggest trading partner, and it was also the largest trading partner and export destination in the Middle East.
UN sanctions six Congolese rebels over crisis in its eastern region
Six members of five armed organisations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council as violence between the Congolese army and M23 Tutsi-led rebels, who are backed by Rwanda, has escalated.
The fighting in this decades-long battle has made it more likely that Rwanda and Congo could go to war, which might draw in armies from nearby countries like South Africa, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi.
The Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told a meeting of the 15-member Security Council that “The United States firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC and lasting peace for all Congolese people. Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war.”
A travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo were placed on two leaders of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one commander of the Twirwaneho armed organisation, and one leader of the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC) rebels by the Security Council’s DRC sanctions committee.
The military spokesman for the M23 Tutsi-led rebels, allegedly backed by Rwanda, and a leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an organisation started by Hutus who left Rwanda after participating in the 1994 genocide that killed over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were also placed on the UN list.
“These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses,” Wood said of the six sanctioned individuals.
After replacing a previous U.N. operation in 2010 to aid in reducing insecurity in the country’s east, Congo has been home to a UN peacekeeping force known as MONUSCO for more than 13 years.
Felix Tshisekedi, the president of the Congo, requested in September that the peacekeepers’ withdrawal be expedited, and the UN Security Council granted his request, allowing the deployment to terminate in December.
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