Burkina Faso: World Bank Continues to Support the Development of Rural Communities

March 29, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2007 – The World Bank will continue to support Burkina Faso 's efforts to more directly and speedily reduce poverty by accelerating the pace of public transfers to rural areas and increasing the capacity of local governments to plan and implement essential development activities. World Bank support will include a US$74 million credit* approved by the Bank's Board of Executive Directors today.
Continuing on the success' of the first project, the Second Community Based Rural Development Project will maintain support to capacity building and investment activities at the local level, although the support will now be channeled through all of the 302 newly created rural communes nationwide. Micro-projects implemented by the clusters of villages will increase the provision and improve management of basic services such as primary schools, health centers and water sources.
Burkina Faso 's population is predominantly rural with only an estimated 19 percent living in towns, and the economy depends overwhelmingly on agriculture. As the result of unsustainable resource use and the effects of long-term changes in precipitation, land productivity is declining. To address these development challenges, Burkina Faso has developed the National Program for Decentralized Rural Development (PNDRD), a fifteen year program whose objective is to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development in rural areas.
"In line with Burkina Faso's national strategy, the project will strengthen the capacity of grass-roots organizations and interest groups by making available financial resources to support income generating activities, build socio-economic infrastructures, and further develop activities that contribute to improving the productive potential and sustainable management of natural resources," said Emmanuel Y. Nikiema, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
Capacity building activities will help develop the technical and fiduciary skills needed at the different decentralized levels to implement local development activities. Rural communes and villages are expected to guide those activities by formulating and keeping up-to-date development plans and investment programs while being sure to include all the stakeholders involved. Support will also be provided for a national coordination unit that will be established for the overall management of the project.
Rural development is further complicated by a lack of definition of formally recognized and registered land tenure rights, which is directly linked to poverty. This further affects farmers' ability to make long term investments in land improvements and agricultural inputs. Building on the land tenure security pilot operation in the first project, the second project will also put in place the institutional and legal framework for the effective management of rural land tenure and create the enabling conditions for its implementation.
"The first project (2000 to 2006) has achieved impressive results," said Mats Karlsson, World Bank Country Director for Burkina Faso. "Including establishing village committees in half of the villages in the country--four thousand in all--and building the local capacity to plan, implement, and monitor micro-projects through training and hands-on experience; and providing the equivalent of US$39 million for 12,000 micro-projects in the provision of water and other social infrastructure, as well as environmental management."
"Communities have demonstrated that they are well capable of generating results if given the opportunity," said Mary A. Barton-Dock, World Bank Sector Manager for the project. "Micro-projects financed by the first project were found to be 30% less expensive compared to other similar projects, and these investments are fully functional thanks to communities' strong sense of ownership over them."
The project is expected to directly benefit over half of Burkina Faso 's population--6.5 million--which is most of the West African countries rural population. Additional financing will be provided by the Government of Burkina Faso, beneficiary rural communes, the Global Environment Fund, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
*The credit is provided on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms, with a commitment fee of 0.35 percent, and a service charge of 0.75 percent over a 40 year period of maturity which includes a 10-year grace period.

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