Ouagadougou, November 16, 2012 -- Every four years, the World Bank prepares its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), which serves as its true road map. In order to develop its Partnership Strategy for the 2013-2016 period, the World Bank conducted a series of consultations in seven regions of Burkina Faso, as well as at the central level in Ouagadougou. In the regions, both rural and urban communes were included in the consultations. In the capital, Ouagadougou, members of the government, parliamentarians, public institutions, technical and financial partners (TFPs), civil society organizations (CSOs), the media, research institutes, and focus groups participated in these consultations.
The consultations, which started in October 2012, stimulated discussions on the crucial development challenges faced by Burkina Faso, as well as the main thrusts of the new Partnership Strategy, its objectives, the choice of financing instruments, and the results expected. Consequently, they helped ensure stakeholder understanding and buy-in regarding the support described in the main pillars of the Partnership Strategy.
“Consultations are an essential stage and prerequisite of the Strategy preparation process. They offer an ideal opportunity to discuss issues related to the World Bank’s portfolio and hear suggestions for its improvement,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso. “The consultations seek to provide a better understanding of the conditions in the country and support the assessment done,” she added.
After the consultations were complete, Lucien Marie Noël Bembamba, Burkina Faso’s minister of economy and finance, said he liked the all-inclusive approach.
“I think that this is how we can be sure that we take into account all of the populations’ concerns and that, in the implementation, everyone will be represented,” Bembamba said. “Therefore, we can only welcome this approach, which will enable us to share findings and concerns, in order to find the best solutions and options for our populations.”
Civil society actors were appreciative of the effort started by World Bank, which entailed involving them in the CPS preparation process.
The conclusion drawn at the end of the consultations is that, in terms of direction, the main pillars of the CPS are aligned with Burkina Faso’s Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development [Stratégie de Croissance Accélérée et de Développement Durable SCADD].
Expectations and Suggestions for the New Strategy
Participants identified and discussed strategic options and choices, as well as guidelines, which, according to them, must be taken into account by the World Bank in its new road map. These guidelines primarily concern rural development, industrialization, education, and youth employment sectors, as well as the private sector, decentralization, the mining sector, support for civil society organizations and the media, capacity building, gender, and good governance.
Rural Development: Support the processing and marketing of agro-sylvo-pastoral products and improve the production chain for food products.
Environment: Support operations related to natural resource management and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Industrialization: The new Strategy must provide robust support for industrialization and the creation/promotion of small medium enterprises and small medium scale industries (SMEs/SMIs). The development of industrialization entails curbing energy costs, a point highlighted by consultation participants. Consideration must also be given to rural electrification.
Education and Youth Employment: Participants made very insightful suggestions to the Bank that could result in increased support for higher education.
Employment is a crucial challenge to development in Burkina Faso as well as the African continent. The Bank certainly takes this into account in all its operations. One such example is the Bagré Growth Pole Project, which will help create 30,000 jobs. However, additional and much more targeted assistance is desired.
The Private Sector: One-stop shops, in their current state, are far from the model described. Closer monitoring is needed, a task that could be delegated to civil society.
Decentralization: Efforts should be made to promote decentralization and commune-level investments.
The Mining Sector: Too few Burkinabès work in this booming sector. What level of support is expected by the World Bank to promote job creation and participatory local development through the mining sector and companies?
Support for Civil Society and the Media: Find a mechanism for financing and building the capacities of oversight agencies.
Capacity building: The Strategy does not appear to ascribe any importance to the low level of human resources in Burkina Faso. The World Bank would therefore benefit from focusing more on issues of human development and capacity building in order to achieve greater professionalism and human capital capable of meeting the needs of enterprises.
Gender and Employment: Ensure that women, as well as young people, can find jobs more easily.
Good Governance: The strengthening of governance and the sound management of public resources were recurring themes throughout the consultations. Participants lamented the fact that only a minute portion of development aid actually reaches the poorest.
Participants also asked for greater selectivity in the identification of priorities and areas of intervention of the Strategy.
Country Partnership Strategy and Aid Harmonization: The Partnership Strategy preparation process is supported by a sound assessment of the country’s situation, conducted jointly with the African Development Bank. This exercise, conducted for the first time by these two institutions, falls under the general framework of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness through harmonization and donor coordination. As a reminder, the main pillars of the Strategy are accelerated and sustained growth, the sharing of the benefits of growth through improved services, and more effective governance and management of public resources.
The opinions compiled during the consultations, along with the results of a country survey currently underway, will help chart the course of the new Partnership Strategy for Burkina Faso. This document, which is being prepared, is expected to submitted to the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors by the end of March 2013.
What is the CPS?
The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) is the most important document prepared by the World Bank for any country. It is adapted to the needs and situation of the country and sets out the development priorities identified by the World Bank Group, as well as the level and type of assistance that it intends to provide over a four-year period.
The Partnership Strategy is therefore the true road map for the World Bank’s intervention in a specific country for a specific period.
The preparation of the Partnership Strategy results in a participatory process. Before the adoption of the Strategy, its key components are discussed in detail with government agencies and, to ensure the greatest possible participation, a process of consultation with the different stakeholders is also undertaken. As a strategic programming tool, the Partnership Strategy helps to strengthen the transparency and visibility of the World Bank’s assistance to Burkina Faso. An annual progress report will be published during its implementation.