Burkina Faso’s government said Friday that it had signed an agreement with Russia for the construction of a nuclear power plant to “cover the energy needs of the population,” less than a quarter of which has access to electricity.
Burkina Faso has been ruled by a military junta since last year and has sought to diversify its international partners, moving closer to Russia in particular.
“The government of Burkina Faso has signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a nuclear power plant,” it said in a statement.
“The construction of this nuclear power plant in Burkina Faso is intended to cover the energy needs of the population,” it added.
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 “fulfils the wish of the president of (Burkina) Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traore, expressed last 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 a statement that “the memorandum is the first document in the field of the peaceful use of atomic energy between Russia and Burkina Faso.”
The country has been ruled by Traore since he came to power in a coup in September 2022, with the ruling junta distancing itself from France, its historic partner and former colonial power.
The new deal with Russia is a culmination of talks the Burkinabe military ruler, Capt Ibrahim Traore, had with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July during the Russia-Africa summit in Moscow.
The deal is part of Burkina Faso’s target to achieve 95% electricity access for urban areas and 50% for rural areas by 2030.
Burkina Faso gets most of its electricity from biofuels like charcoal and wood while oil products account for one-third of the total energy supply, according to the International Energy Agency.
According to the US development agency USAid, Burkina Faso also has one of the highest electricity costs in Africa.