5th Friendship Summit between Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire

Leaders from Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire met at the 5th Conference of the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation in Yamoussokro on 29 July. It is the first official visit of President Christian Kaboré to Côte d’Ivoire. The relationship of the two countries was put under strain, in particular over questions related to the international arrest warrant for ousted Burkinabe President Blaise Campaoré and President Ouattara’s decision to grant him Ivoirian nationality, ending the prospect of his extradition to Burkina Faso. After a missed summit in 2015, the meeting set the tone for reconciliation. Leaders from both countries reaffirmed the importance of historical, geographical, cultural relations between the two countries. An estimated three million Burkinabé, nearly 20% of the country's population, live in Côte d’Ivoire. The leaders also highlighted the common security challenges related to recent terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou and Grand-Bassam. Beyond reaffirming the diplomatic relationship, the summit led to the ratification of 13 agreements involving a large number of sectors: mining, transport infrastructure, security and defence, scientific research and culture. Major infrastructure projects include the construction of the Abidjan-Ouagadougou highway. The Abidjan-Yamoussoukro connection has been built, but the remaining part linking Yamoussoukro to Ouagadougou is estimated to cost another 1.2 trillion CFA francs (Euro 1.8 billion). The two countries are also planning for a railway connection and aim to explore funding opportunities with the African Development Bank and Qatar. The next Burkina Faso-Côte d’Ivoire friendship summit is scheduled for July 2017 in Ouagadougou.