Burkina Faso: Between Taiwan's active public diplomacy and China's business attractiveness

Jean-Pierre Cabestan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Burkina Faso and Taiwan restored official relations in 1994, after which Taipei's aid has been generous. Taiwan's approach to official development assistance has remained largely traditional, closely linking its public diplomacy to its foreign policy objectives. Trade between both countries has remained very modest. In the same period, because of mainland China's rise and active strategy of ‘going out’, Burkina Faso has developed a robust trade and business relationship with China. As a result, the pull to establish official ties with China (and thus end ties with Taiwan) has become a domestic political issue. After the ousting of President Blaise Compaoré in 2014, a failed coup and then the return to democracy as seen in the November 2015 elections, this debate has become more public. While Burkina Faso has remained faithful to Taiwan and continues to publicly appreciate its assistance, there is no certainty that the political values that both Burkina Faso and Taiwan share will prevent a Burkinabe move towards China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-519
Number of pages25
JournalSouth African Journal of International Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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