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Russia-Africa Summit 2023: Burkinabé Ibrahim Traoré's Speech Creating a Buzz

"Patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons" ("Homeland or death, we shall overcome"). With his fist raised, this is how the President of Burkina Faso concluded his 6-minute speech. Traoré didn't hold back and lambasted his fellow Africans and neocolonialism, using strong words that have been circulating widely on social media across Africa, where his speech is being replayed.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré has been leading Burkina Faso since September 30, 2022, following a coup d'état that overturned a previous coup leader. He is overseeing the transition until the next elections, the date of which is still uncertain.

Traoré highlighted that Russia and Africa share a common history, linked to their joint contribution to the fight against Nazism during World War II. He also expressed the feeling of being forgotten that both peoples had experienced in history and the media.

The Captain wondered about Africa's wealth in natural resources and the widespread poverty on the continent. He strongly criticized certain African heads of state who "roam the world begging" instead of developing their own countries.

He mentioned the struggle of his country, Burkina Faso, for over 8 years against terrorism and neocolonialism, affirming that his people were ready to fight to defend their country and its development. He expressed his disappointment with African leaders who supported imperialist interests rather than defending their own people.

When we, the people, decide to defend ourselves, we are labeled as militias. But that's not the problem. The real problem is seeing African leaders who do nothing for their people's fight but echo the same sentiments as the imperialists, labelling us as militias and men who do not respect human rights. [...] We, African leaders, must stop behaving like puppets who dance whenever the imperialists pull the strings.

Furthermore, Captain Ibrahim Traoré addressed the issue of young Africans seeking a better life in Europe. He stated that many African youths were forced to cross the ocean under dangerous conditions in an attempt to reach Europe, and some died along the way. However, he expressed hope that this situation would change soon. He affirmed that in the future, young people would no longer seek to cross the ocean to Europe but would come to demand opportunities and care in front of their leaders' palaces in Africa.

This point raised questions about the poverty and challenges faced by young Africans, and he encouraged African leaders to stop following foreign interests and to act as defenders of their own people.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré concluded his speech by calling for better relations with the Russian Federation to achieve food self-sufficiency in Africa.

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