Members of Burkina Faso’s opposition said this week that the protests in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, were “Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, like the Arab Spring.” So far, the trajectory of events on the ground looks eerily similar to many of the countries that experienced revolutions in 2011 -- small protests lead to mass demonstrations, which eventually lead to shifts in power. But it is unclear if Burkina Faso’s uprising will have a ripple effect in the rest of West Africa. 

During the Arab Spring, countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia had similar economic, political and social struggles -- all of which contributed to their descent into chaos. One of the dominating factors in those uprisings was the countries' youth bulges. Most of the Arab Spring countries had large youth populations that spearheaded the protests and mobilized political groups. They were the driving force behind the eventual fall of several dictators. The demographic, economic and political circumstances in Burkina Faso suggest that it has the elements necessary to nurture such a revolution.

Around 60 percent of Burkina Faso's 17 million people are under the age of 25 and after spending the majority of their lives under President Blaise Compaoré, they did not want the ruler to extend his control.  Most of those on the front lines of the clashes in Ouagadougou are young men -- similar to the protests in Egypt and Tunisia. And economically, Burkina Faso is in a distressing position. According to local media reports, there has been discontent over economic corruption in the country for years. The country's economy grew at a rate of 7 percent in 2012, but half of the population (about 17 million) lived below the poverty line. 
Despite all this, Burkina Faso sits in a region with countries whose environments are not conducive to uprisings. When the Arab Spring protests first began in North Africa, many analysts predicted that the revolutions would move south, where longtime dictators were clinging to power. But some of those countries are now dealing with a much bigger crisis: Ebola. Others are mired in corruption, but activists lack the ability and eagerness to instigate a mass movement against the government. 

Opposition resistance in Burkina Faso had been building for weeks as the president made moves to try and extend his time in power. The resistance turned violent in the early hours of Thursday morning when members of the opposition stormed the streets in the capital and began setting fire to the homes of presidential aides and their relatives. 

After nearly two days of violent protests, the army said Friday that Compaoré would step down from power immediately. In a televised statement Friday, the president said elections would be held in 90 days but didn't give details about who would hold power in the interim.