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close this bookThe Courier N 126 - March - April 1991 - Dossier: AIDS - The Big Threat / Country Report: Burkina Faso (EC Courier, 1991, 96 p.)
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EEC-Burkina cooperation

by Philippe de VILLELONGUE

The European Community has made no small contribution to Burkina’s economy.

1. The country received upwards of CFAF 100 billion from the Community between 1960 and 1985. Approximately CFAF 75 billion came from the first five European Development Funds (i.e. 7 billion from the 1st, 8.3 from the 2nd, 12.3 from the 3rd, 19.3 from the 4th and 27.7 from the 5th) and:

· 40 % of it went on infrastructure- 900 km of tarred road, 50 or so dams, more than 1000 water points (under the responsibility of village committees), water supply systems in several towns and a contribution to the Kompienga hydro-electric dam;

· 30 % went on developing rural production in particular via the creation- of 3 000 ha of irrigated plots and livestock and fishing schemes;

· 30 % went on health and education schemes including:

-aid for construction of the National School of Administration and the technical high school;

-assistance with opening and running 300 training centres to give young farmers a theoretical and practical grounding (in the three Rs and agriculture);

-almost 3 000 study awards for students and rural craftsmen’ nurses and agricultural credit officers;

-village equipment, especially schools. via microproject programmes.

Over and above this, Burkina received around CFAF 25 billion in the form of:

food aid, i.e.:

-about 100 000 t of cereals;

-about 15 000 t of milkpowder;

-about 5 000 t of butteroil;

· assistance with regional projects-the Burkina-Niger road, for example, aid for ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) and CILLS (the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel), the opening of the School of Rural Equipment Engineering and the School of Higher Hydraulics and Rural Equipment

Technicians in Ouagadougou and the campaign against onchocerciasis;

· EIB loans with interest rebates, in particular for the Banfora sugar plantation and the Poura gold mine;

· a special world hunger control scheme -aid for the National Cereal Board, for reafforestation and for underground water prospection;

· grants to NGOs (which received more than CFAF 1.6 billion, 1976-85 inclusive);

· Stabex (groundnuts, cotton and karituts).

Since almost all the Community aid was in the form of grants or (very) ‘soft’ loans (40-year duration including 10 years grace period at 0.75 %), Burkina owes the Community very little as public debt.

II. The national indicative programme for 1985-90, for the 6th EDF (LomII), was signed in late 1985 and extra resources were awarded in 1988. The programme resources for national projects were therefore ultimately ECU 107 million in grants plus ECU 12.5 million in risk capital-a total of almost CFAF 42 billion.

6th EDF grants for national projects

The 6th EDF took a more sectoral approach to development. The focal sector for Commission-financed national projects this time was rural development, with the idea of helping achieve the strategic aim of food security, and the cooperation therefore involved various measures, schemes and investments to improve and secure food output, in particular by means of the proper management of natural resources.

The aims included:

· a better standard of living (food, water, education and health care) for the rural population;

· greater and more reliable production of food, local cereals especially;

· optimum utilisation of water resources in rural areas;

· proper management of the land and plant cover;

· the opening up of rural areas.

Major financing for two rural development programmes

One of these is in a part of the country with very unreliable rainfall (Provinces of Sourou, Yatenga and Passorand the other in a part where rainfall is good (Province of the Sissili). The idea in both cases is to encourage self-sustaining development by the people and to coordinate schemes to promote the rural economy.

Alongside this, the financing of the rehabilitation of the Yako-Ouahigouya and the Bassila-Lroads will greatly improve communications with these provinces.

A considerable effort is also being made to develop human resources. Hydro-agricultural developments on the Sourou Plain will make for reliable cereal production on the edge of a region which has structural food shortages and the continuing improvements to the valley floors in the Comorea are a contribution to the local rice promotion drive.

6th EDF risk capital for national, projects

The EIB has focused on industry. The SONACEB scheme meets the demand for cartons for factories and market gardens, FASOPLAST turns out plastic sheeting to wrap cotton bales and make bags for food and agriculture, SHSB-CITEC is doing more with cotton seed to meet the local demand for table oil’ soap and cattle feed and a scheme to help the SONABEL power company is being run as part of Burkina’s electricity supply master plan.

Comoice scheme, part two

The idea here is to consolidate and extend a lowland rice scheme in Comorovince in the south west. It follows on from part one of the project-to develop rice growing in the Comoegional Development Organisation which has received ECU 2.968 million from the Community since 1978.

Phase two involves developing (partial irrigation) a dozen sites totalling 620 ha to add to the seven (850 ha) already completed, continuing with the organisation of peasant self-management of site exploitation and modernising the planters’ methods.

Lowland rice growing is a traditional activity of the people, particularly the women, in this region, but chance variations in the hydraulic systems and the lack of any development has meant that yields at an average of 700-800 kg of paddy per ha, are poor. Small water engineering works and intensive growing methods improve the output and back-up measures-better access for trucks to the sites, the organisation of groups, training, funds to provide seasonal credit and equipment and the building of village warehouses -are also planned.

The work is being done by the public works department’ with local day labour called in for some jobs’ and technical assistance is provided by the Netherlands’ Volunteer Service. The operation is expected to take five years (1990-95).

The estimated costs of ECU 3.64 million are to be financed by ECU 3.42 million from the 6th EDF, ECU 105 000 from the Netherlands and ECU 115 000 from Burkina’s budget (i.e. the wages of the national civil service staff working on the project).

Some 4 400 rice growers, 85 % of them women, benefited from stage one of the Comocheme and 3 000 more (similar percentages) are to be covered by stage two - which will be an opportunity, inter alia to develop additional economic activity such as cereal milling and market gardening thereby considerably improving self sufficiency and the food security of both the producers and the people of the region in general.

An extra 2 000 t of paddy rice, most of it to be eaten in the lowland villages, is expected to be produced.

Other Lomb III operations

In addition to the national programme resources provided in 1985-90, Burkina has also had about CFAF 5 billion as follows:

· food aid, geared to improving the country’s food storage situation, i.e. in the form of aid for substitution, buffer stocks and indirect aid targeted via the NGOs (and amounting to CFAF 2.8 billion, the cost of almost 40 000 t of cereals, by the end of September 1990);

· grants to NGOs for schemes in the field, which continued to develop (about CFAF 1.8 billion in 198&89, including about CFAF 0.9 billion for 1988 and 1989),

· help with the AIDS control campaign;

· Stabex transfers (for cotton, karituts and sesame seeds?.

Considerable help under the regional cooperation heading, via a number of African organisations (the OAU, ECOWAS, the CEAO, CILSS, BOAD, ASCENA etc), in particular for the protection of the natural heritage, reafforestation, the promotion of butane gas, solar energy utilisation, animal health, post-catch fish loss reduction, cultural cooperation, industrial promotion, trade promotion, customs cooperation and so on.

Table 1: National projects - financial and technical cooperations during the Conventions of Lom

III. The initial allocation for the programming of national projects in the financial protocol for 1990-95 (LomV) is ECU 140 million, ECU 124 million of it in the form of grants and the rest as risk capital. This is almost CFAF 48.5 billion.

As well as drawing up a programme of reform to reflect socio-economic developments at home and abroad, the Government has stepped up its cooperation with the different funders and has resolutely gone for dialogue in the programming of new Community aid.

The authorities have suggested two focal areas for grants:

· rural development, with a view to lasting improvements to food security and better management of natural resources;

· basic socio-economic infrastructure (road transport and rural water engineering), something which also contributes to rural development.

Table 2: National indicative programmes

The EIB will be continuing to offer risk capital support to industrial projects, particularly those developing agricultural products. The need to promote private initiative could also open the way for new opportunities for cooperation in the SME sector. The large amounts of financing called for in transport and energy will probably mean that help will be given here too.

As usual, the (increased) funds which the new Convention provides for regional cooperation will be the subject of specific programming.

Ph. de V.