Posted on August 3, 2009 by Kateri Clement, Resident Country Director
Today, Burkina Faso took a great step forward. Its $480.9 million, five-year Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to reduce poverty through economic growth has entered into force (EIF), meaning that the five-year clock to implement the grant has officially begun. For over a year, the Government of Burkina Faso has been tremendously busy preparing for this moment. The entity in charge of implementing the Compact—Millennium Challenge Account-Burkina Faso (MCA-Burkina Faso—has already created a strong foundation for achieving Compact success.
The four Compact-funded projects continue to progress at an impressive rate. For the Rural Land Governance Project, project analysts are working on baseline data collection on land conflict and land tenure security, to enable monitoring of project performance. The Parliament of Burkina Faso also has passed a new rural land tenure law (Loi Portant Régime Foncier Rural), which is a critical step in Burkina’s land tenure reform process. For the Roads Project, contracts are being signed this week for project management, technical assistance, and environmental and social assessments for the longest road segment funded by the Compact. For the Agriculture Development Project, the management audit of the Sourou Valley Development Authority is complete, and the Ministry of Agriculture is now developing an action plan to address the findings of the audit. The action plan will then be implemented by the development authority. Burkina Faso also has completed Phase One of the BRIGHT 2 Project, a girls education program designed as a 3-year continuation of the highly successful Bright Threshold Program.
The EIF event culminates a week of activities, including a televised roundtable panel with other MCA CEOs from Mali and Benin, who were visiting Burkina Faso. These CEOs discussed their experiences and shared best practices and lessons learned in implementing MCC poverty reduction grants in their countries. It was fascinating to hear examples of the good work MCC partner countries are doing, and the people we are affecting in meaningful ways around the world. It was also heartening to receive advice from the CEOs of Mali and Benin, who are both several years ahead of Burkina Faso on Compact implementation.
On July 30th, MCA-Burkina Faso also unveiled its new logowith symbols representing all four Compact projects as well as the important partnership between Burkina Faso and the United States. This partnership was emphasized by the American Embassys Charg_ dAffaires, Mr. Samuel C. Laeuchli, at a dinner at my house on July 30th. At the dinner, Mr. Laeuchli toasted MCAs success and highlighted that the staff of MCA are the ones who are truly implementing these important projects to reduce poverty in their country, with Americas support and funding. On Thursday, MCC and MCA also signed an Implementing Entity Agreement with the Ministry of Environment, one of eight important agreements with Government of Burkina Faso ministries which spells out the terms of collaboration. On Friday, there was an event at the Ministry of Finance, where the Charg_ dAffaires, MCC Deputy Vice President Jonathan Bloom, and the Ministry of Finance exchanged letters signifying that both countries had met all of the requirements in the Compact and were now ready to enter into force.
Finally, a highlight of the week was a televised meeting with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso on July 31st. The Prime Minister is very enthusiastic about the Burkina Faso Compact and is confident that it will make a significant difference in the lives of the poor here in Burkina. I am proud to be working alongside my Burkinabe colleagues and friends, whose commitment to the fight against poverty is an inspiration. The partnership between MCC and Burkina Faso reflects a shared commitment to winning the fight against poverty and creating sustainable opportunities for economic growth that will improve the lives of Burkinabe. Now, the clock is ticking as we chart further progress ahead.