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Russia to Build Nuclear Power Plant in Burkina Faso

A man in Burkina Faso seen holding a Russian flag. Assane Ouedraogo / EPA / TASS

Burkina Faso's government said Friday that it had signed an agreement with Russia to build a nuclear power plant that will "cover the energy needs of the population," less than a quarter of which has access to electricity.

The West African nation has been ruled by a military junta since last year and has sought to build stronger relations with Russia as it diversifies its international partners. 

"The government of Burkina Faso has signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a nuclear power plant," the government said in a statement.

The agreement was signed at the Russian Energy Week in Moscow, which was attended by Burkina Faso's energy minister Simon-Pierre Boussim.

The document "fulfills the wish of the president of [Burkina] Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traore, expressed [in] July at the Russia-Africa summit during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin," the statement said.

Russia's state atomic energy agency Rosatom said in its own statement that "the memorandum is the first document in the field of the peaceful use of atomic energy between Russia and Burkina Faso."

It noted that the agreement laid the foundations for cooperation in areas including the use of nuclear energy in industry, agriculture and medicine.

Less than a quarter of Burkina Faso's population had access to electricity at the end of 2020, according to the African Development Bank.

The country has been ruled by Traore since he came to power in a coup last September, with the ruling junta distancing itself from France, its historic partner and former colonial ruler.

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