The Burkinabe, as Burkina Faso’s residents are known, credit Gadhafi with starting banks, hospitals, university buildings, roads, mosques and women’s education centers.
If Ouagadougou were a modern city, this sort of investment might be less conspicuous. But here, Gadhafi’s pet projects stand in stark contrast to the city’s otherwise rundown, dust-colored blocks and streets that are filled with far more scooters than cars.
What to do now, with their major benefactor on the run and a new government coming to power in Tripoli after 42 years, is a major concern.
Despite a recent cooling of ties between their president, Blaise Compaore, and Gadhafi, the Burkinabe speak fondly of the former Libyan leader. While people in the West may see him as a mad nemesis, here he was a source of hope in a country whose own authoritarian government does little for its people.
“He helped build roads. He built centers for poor and orphans,” said Mohammed Congo, a 21-year-old aspiring artist. “A lot of Burkinabe don’t like what is happening.”
There’s no solid estimate of how much Gadhafi’s regime spent here, partly because the projects were a mixed bag of public gifts, off-the-books grants, and the work of a dizzying array of shadow companies.
Next door to the hotel, inside a half-vacant Western-style shopping mall also built by the Libyan African Investment Co., there are signs the transition could be messy and complicated.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/15/2408861/tiny-burkina-faso-confronts-gadhafis.html#ixzz1Y8PTXsDY