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Belgium forms new partnerships with Guinea and Burkina Faso
Belgium's federal ministers for cooperation and foreign trade are visiting Guinea and Burkina Faso this week to "formalise a new partnership" with the two African nations.
Burkina Faso had been a partner country of the Belgian Development Cooperation scheme until 2003. The Belgian foreign ministry said resuming the partnership will allow Belgium to "give structural support to the fledgling democratisation process".
Guinea, meanwhile, has been heavily affected by the Ebola epidemic and was officially declared Ebola-free on 29 December. Belgium said it would focus on strengthening the country's healthcare system and contributing to reconstruction efforts.
Belgian minister for co-operation Alexander De Croo left on Sunday for the two African countries, accompanied by foreign trade minister Pieter De Crem (pictured) and representatives from several Belgian private-sector companies.
The decision to give support to Guinea and Burkina Faso was made by the Charles Michel government in May 2015. At the same time, Belgium announced that six countries would cease to be partners in the development cooperation scheme: Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Algeria and South Africa.