The European Union is increasing its support for Burkina Faso's transitional government today with the signing of a €120 million budget support agreement covering a period of 18 months, financed under the 11th European Development Fund. This budget support has been quickly put in place to consolidate the country's democratic gains following the popular uprising at the end of October 2014. Its aim is to promote much-needed political, economic and social stability.
The support will guarantee additional funding for the state budget, which is in deficit in 2015 and has been severely affected by a significant drop in revenues. This funding will be especially useful for maintaining basic public services for the country's population and for organising the elections.
The support will be disbursed in two stages: an initial amount of €70 million in July and a second amount of €50 million at the beginning of 2016.
The two disbursements will be contingent upon fulfilment of the general conditions regarding the continued implementation of the national poverty reduction policy and good public fund management. In addition, special conditions will ensure an emphasis on the independence of the judiciary, transparency and the fight against corruption. The aim is to hand over a healthier state to the next elected government.
EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, stated: ‘The European Union is fully committed to working with the transitional authorities and President Kafando to help strengthen democracy and ensure stability and the necessary conditions for credible and inclusive elections.’
He added: ‘In a fragile context, but with the determination of Burkina Faso's people, our cooperation will also ensure that the achievements of the national poverty reduction policy are maintained and that progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is continued.’
Since the popular uprising of 30 to 31 October 2014 which forced former president Compaoré to resign, Burkina Faso has been in a state of democratic transition. This transition, based on the Transition Charter, has been led by President Michel Kafando. President Kafando was appointed by consensus between all the parties involved in the transition process (political parties, secular and religious civil society organisations, and the army). The President is assisted in his duties by the National Transitional Council, acting as an interim legislative assembly.
Against this backdrop of transition, the economic outlook is bleak with the growth forecast for 2015 revised downwards. This is the result of a reduction in state revenues and a significant financing requirement, which will be met in part by this advance budget support.
The budget support, for which the financing agreement is being signed today, forms part of the sum of €623 million allocated under the 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme (NIP), signed in September 2014 and financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The NIP focuses on three areas: good governance, health and food and nutrition security. Its main objectives are to contribute to halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, reducing by two thirds the rate of malnutrition among children below the age of five and halving the percentage of the population with no access to drinking water and sanitation.
In addition to this budget support, technical assistance totalling €5.5 million financed by the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace will support the Independent National Electoral Commission, civil society and the media in organising and monitoring the forthcoming elections.
The European Union's support under the 10th EDF, amounting to more than €692 million, delivered encouraging results. Between 2009 and 2013, 14% more girls attended school, the rate of malnourished children decreased by 20% and almost 8 million additional people had access to drinking water in rural areas.