Burkina Faso to Use 13% of Budget for Defense as Jihadism Soars

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(Bloomberg) -- Burkina Faso will step up spending on defense and security to account for 13% of its 2020 budget as it’s facing a surge of Islamist militant attacks, according to the document that Finance Minister Lassane Kabore presented to lawmakers Thursday.

The West African nation approved a budget of 2.22 trillion CFA francs ($3.8 billion) for 2020, from 2.13 trillion francs in 2019. Gold mining and cotton are expected to help push economic growth to about 6% next year.

Burkina Faso was largely peaceful until militants in Mali, losing ground under pressure from French special forces hunting down their leaders, shifted their focus eastward. The speed with which the militants have spread from the north into the eastern and southwestern regions has caused the country’s worst humanitarian crisis, while hundreds of people have died in hit-and-run attacks by gunmen on motorbikes.

Defense and security are considered an “absolute priority,” according to the document, and will account for 325 billion francs, compared to 281 billion francs in this year’s budget.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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