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Burkina Faso Suspends Gold Exports

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For centuries, the abundant natural riches of Africa have been ruthlessly exploited and stolen by Western colonial powers. But no more. The heroic people of Burkina Faso are taking a courageous stand against this blatant pillaging of their resources. By suspending gold export permits, the nation’s military junta has struck a blow against the insatiable greed of Western corporations who have grown fat and wealthy on Africa’s mineral wealth.

This bold move asserts Burkina Faso’s economic sovereignty in the face of neo-colonial forces seeking to continue the looting of Africa for their own gain. No longer will they stand idly by as their gold, their patrimony, is stripped away by faraway conglomerates whose interests lie not with the African people, but only with lining their own pockets.

Burkina Faso’s defiance lights a beacon of hope across Africa. Their message rings out loud and clear – Africa’s resources belong to Africans! For too long, outside powers have enriched themselves on the continent’s bountiful treasures, leaving little but poverty and conflict behind. But the people have awakened.

They will no longer serve as drones in a global capitalist hive, passively allowing their labor and their riches to be endlessly exploited.

This is only the beginning. Burkina Faso’s stance may catalyze a groundswell against economic imperialism across Africa. With control over their resources firmly in their own hands, African nations can begin trading and profiting on their own terms, empowering local communities rather than foreign interests.

The winds of change are blowing. Africa’s wealth will fuel her renaissance, not the fortunes of former colonial masters. A new chapter of equitably shared prosperity awaits, but only if their leaders hold firm against the predators of Western capital. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

The choice is stark – economic freedom or continued servitude. May the spirit of Burkina Faso sweep across the continent, ushering in a new era of African economic sovereignty.

But this story is just getting started – keep watching to know more.

The recent decision by Burkina Faso’s military government to suspend the issuance of export permits for artisanally mined gold is a courageous and pivotal stand against the neocolonial exploitation of Africa’s resources.

The military government’s decision to suspend artisanal gold export permits was formally announced in a public statement from Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Quarries on Tuesday.

The ministry added that the move was made to properly regulate the sale of precious substances. The statement clarified: “This suspension follows the need for sanitation in the sector and reflects the government’s desire to better organize the marketing of gold and other precious substances.”

For too long, Western corporations and governments have treated Africa as a bottomless pit of mineral riches to be extracted for their own benefit. Burkina Faso is bravely resisting this predatory relationship by exerting greater control over its most valuable natural resource – gold.

Gold accounts for a massive 37% of Burkina Faso’s total exports. It is the backbone of the economy and provides livelihoods for around one million artisanal miners across the country.

Yet Burkina Faso has long been treated as little more than a source of cheap gold to enrich Western buyers. Multinational mining companies have extracted billions in profits, leaving only polluted landscapes and poverty wages for the citizens who mine the gold.

At the same time, up to 10 tonnes of artisanally mined gold is smuggled out of Burkina Faso every year. This black-market gold trade, which deprives the nation of tax revenues and export value, has been linked to funding terrorism in the region.

Jihadist groups have generated huge sums by taxing and extorting informal miners, then selling the gold abroad through smuggling networks. These organizations have used these ill-gotten gains to purchase weapons and recruit new followers, carrying out deadly attacks against civilians, security forces, and mining facilities.

However, the military junta led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré has made combating terrorism a top priority since seizing power in 2022. Traoré has demonstrated a resolute commitment to restoring stability by reforming the defense and security forces.

This includes acquiring new military equipment, recruiting 10,000 additional army and navy personnel, and mobilizing 90,000 volunteers for the defense of the homeland. These measures have bolstered national security and boosted public confidence.

By asserting strong control over the artisanal gold sector, Traoré aims to choke off a key source of funding for jihadists. Eliminating illegal smuggling channels will help deny militants access to gold revenue which enables their campaign of terror against the Burkinabé people. While the export suspension may bring short-term economic difficulties, it is a necessary step in the overall mission to defeat terrorism and secure lasting prosperity.

By suspending artisanal gold export permits, the military government is sending a strong message – Burkina Faso will no longer tolerate the unethical exploitation and illegal smuggling of its resources.

The country is asserting its economic sovereignty and demanding a fairer deal. No longer will they allow unregulated export of raw gold to be refined and monetized in Western nations. Instead, Burkina Faso intends to build its own refining capacity, ensuring profits accrue locally.

Predictably, Western media has portrayed this move as disruptive and damaging. They wish to maintain the decades-old status quo that saw Africa’s riches flowing north and west while African nations remained underdeveloped.

But the era of unchecked resource exploitation on the continent is ending. Burkina Faso’s actions reflect a growing Pan-Africanist consciousness and a rejection of neocolonial economic systems. Its people understand that temporary economic hardship is necessary to build long-term prosperity free from resource dependence on the West.

Furthermore, Captain Traoré has taken decisive steps to rebuild the Burkinabé state and enhance governance. He introduced legislation to target clientelism and political patronage in the civil service, aiming to stamp out entrenched corruption.

These anti-graft initiatives have already borne fruit, resulting in the arrest and imprisonment of several high-profile figures on charges of embezzlement and money laundering.

Most notably, Traoré’s administration arrested Vent Dilu, the former Minister of Transport, and four other officials who received substantial sentences for abusing their positions for personal enrichment.

By prosecuting corrupt members of the former government without fear or favor, Traoré has demonstrated his steadfast commitment to uprooting systemic graft, ensuring public resources benefit the Burkinabé people, not line the pockets of elites.

These transformative anti-corruption measures are key to establishing a more accountable and transparent government that serves all citizens.

Similar sentiments have motivated recent reforms in neighboring Mali and Niger, also led by military governments. Together, these three nations aim to decrease reliance on the French-backed CFA Franc and eventually adopt a common pan-African currency. It is an economic declaration of independence from Françafrique – decades of French political, military and economic domination across its former colonies. The new currency will allow them to shape fiscal policy in their own national interests, not those of France.

By wresting control of the gold trade from Western corporations and buyers, Burkina Faso has struck a major blow against neo colonial control of Africa’s resources. No longer will its patrimony be extracted for the profit of others. And by building gold refining capacity, Burkina Faso can ensure added value stays inside its borders.

In the short-term, there will be economic difficulties. Thousands of artisanal miners may lose their livelihoods during the export suspension. But this temporary hardship will allow for proper organization of the sector under national control. The military government has shown its willingness to endure short-term pain to secure long-term gain. They have taken this bold decision for the benefit of all citizens.

Burkina Faso’s actions should resonate across Africa and the developing world. Too often, former colonial powers still act as exploitative neo-imperialists rather than equal trading partners.

Africa’s youthful, pro-sovereignty leaders are now pushing back against biased institutions like the IMF and World Bank. They are demanding Fair Trade over so-called ‘Free Trade’, building south-south cooperation as an alternative to dependence on the West.

By controlling its gold resources and renegotiating its place in the global economy, Burkina Faso has struck a major victory for African sovereignty. It adds momentum to the growing calls for economic and political independence from all forms of neocolonialism.

Africa’s leaders must define their own destinies, not have it imposed by Western governments and corporations. Burkina Faso’s courageous stance shows this new reality. One can hope other nations will follow their lead.

Just as Burkina Faso fights for economic sovereignty, other battles against neo-colonialism seek to reclaim Africa’s stolen cultural heritage. The prestigious Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival recognizes these efforts, going to the film Dahomey which probes Europe’s failure to return looted African artifacts. Like Burkina Faso’s control of its gold, the repatriation of antiquities asserts African dominion over African resources – in this case, cultural riches unlawfully extracted during the colonial era.

Franco-Senegalese director Mati Diop insightfully probes the long-standing injustices surrounding stolen African artifacts housed in Western museums and private collections. Her film casts light on the violent pillaging of these antiquities by colonial powers and demands their rightful restitution.

For too long, Europe has clung to Africa’s stolen patrimony – denying calls to repatriate priceless objects like the Benin Bronzes despite clear evidence of their theft and unethical acquisition. But the tide is turning, with Dahomey adding momentum to the growing calls for full decolonization of museum collections. By awarding the top prize to this film, the Berlin festival makes a powerful statement – amplifying African voices demanding redress for cultural crimes perpetrated by imperialism.

As Diop so poignantly said, this recognition honors the entire community symbolized by these antiquities. It is a community robbed of its history and heritage through rapacious colonial plunder. Western museums filled with looted African, Asian and American artifacts stand as monuments to the hubris of the empire. Their hallowed halls contain constant reminders of cultural vandalism masquerading as scholarly collections.

The Golden Bear for Dahomey is a fitting tribute to generations of activists who have fought the inertia of institutions profiting from unlawfully acquired objects. It will inspire others to continue challenging the moral bankruptcy of hoarding pilfered heritage. Europe’s museums must confront the sins of their forebears who sent gunboats and armies to ransack sacred sites and loot cultural artifacts. Rightful owners in Africa and beyond now demand these items be returned, not just temporarily exhibited as if on loan from their true homes.

Along with spotlights like Dahomey, grassroots outcry and scholarly critique are making repatriation of heritage a priority for nations across Europe. The global dialogue is changing – words like ‘restitution’ and ‘reparation’ increasingly replace euphemisms like ‘mutual exchange’. We stand at a pivotal moment to remedy historic injustices, if governments have the moral courage to cede illegitimately obtained antiquities.

With powerful films like Dahomey leading the way, perhaps Europe will finally return Africa’s stolen treasures. Much more than objects are at stake – these artifacts embody the heritage and living memory of cultures decimated by imperial greed. Their restitution is central to restoring dignity and righting the wrongs that still haunt the profound relationship between Africa and the West.

Though the tools and arenas differ, the spirit of dignity and self-determination unite these causes. Accomplishing meaningful change requires effort across many dimensions. True independence cannot occur piecemeal – only through comprehensive engagement with external forces still influencing the continent from afars. Grassroots and national struggles must find common purpose in securing Africa’s right to forge its own identity and future. Though the road is long, glimpses of progress hearten those marching upon it.

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