On many occasions since its independence in 1960, the country had to face the anger of young people and major student demonstrations, except when the right to demonstrate was abolished under the military regimes of Colonel Saye Zerbo and later Captain Thomas Sankara.
In 2014, urban youth and students played a key role in the popular uprising against the modification of the Constitution that triggered Blaise Compaoré’s resignation from presidency. Their initial euphoria was replaced by a sense of gloominess and despair that settled in the aftermath of Compaoré’s departure, and is still prevalent today.
Today, the Burkinabè youth is still strongly divided about Blaise Compaoré – mostly regarding his arrival and departure from power. However, as the French newspaper Le Monde wrote on October 21, 2016, « Before it was better » is gaining ground or as The Economist’s headline put it “ Burkina Faso, not so pretty now; the departure of “Beau” Blaise Compaoré has left a gaping hole”. The young Burkinabè consider themselves as the victims of the serious economic crisis endured by the country since Compaoré’s resignation.
The economy needs to make a strong recovery to fight against youth unemployment. In 2010, the efforts made by the Burkinabè and the successive governments led Burkina Faso to rank for the first time among the 17 emerging countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. Between 2010 until 2014, the economic growth came close to 8 % thanks to an increase in agricultural productivity, tourism, and state investments in infrastructure and housing.
Instead of falling prey to a sense of despondency and mutual incomprehension, the time has come for constructive engagement to rebuild the social and economic fabric together. And, a better future for our country and our youth.