A poor country even by West African standards (with 44.8 percent of its population living on less than US$1.00 per day), landlocked Burkina Faso has suffered from recurring droughts. Although economic activity has risen sharply over the past ten years, the country’s economic growth is hindered by four factors: a poorly diversified agricultural sector, an inadequate road network, limited energy resources, and lack of access to ports. The Government provides subsistence to more than 80 percent of the population. Although traditionally politically stable, in recent years the country has faced troubling governance issues. Burkina Faso's 2012 Human Development Index gave the country a rank of 183 out of 187 countries.
How We Are Helping?
UNCDF has been helping Burkina Faso meet its development challenges by working jointly with UNDP to support the regulatory framework governing the microfinance sector. While microfinance is well established in Burkina Faso, with an expansive, though uneven, network, a lack of resources and diminished capacities create significant barriers to effectiveness. The current Programme de renforcement du secteur de la Microfinance (PRESEM) aims to improve access to sustainable microfinance services, particularly for poor households or low-income micro-entrepreneurs, mostly women and youth.
On the basis of encouraging findings of the final evaluation of phase 1 of PRESEM, UNCDF and UNDP will support the implementation of the action plan of the new national strategy for microfinance for the period 2012-2016, through the formulation of a new programme (2nd phase of the PRESEM). Funding for the new programme remains open to other donors interested in the microfinance sector in Burkina Faso.
UNCDF is also supporting the Government’s efforts to release poverty through a progressive decentralization progress aimed at strengthening local service and promoting economic development. Overall the initiative aims to put municipalities at the core of the Government’s response to poverty reduction, while also significantly improving access to basic social services. The current Appui aux Communes Rurales et aux Initiatives Intercommunautaires (ACRIC) project aims to promote good governance practices in local public affairs, to increase civic consciousness and expand access to basic services, and to push the local economic development agenda through local institutions.
UNCDF is also present in Burkina Faso with its Youthstart programme, aimed at increasing access to financial services for low-income youth in sub-Saharan Africa. Spur innovation and delivery of microfinance for youth in Africa; and its LOBI programme, aimed at strengthening cross-border governance in the West African region through the definition of regional and national strategies and the promotion of pilot cross-border local development processes.