On behalf on the European Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, will visit Burkina Faso on February 12, to welcome the peaceful and successful elections which concluded a remarkable transition process. The visit of the Commissioner will also be an opportunity to show support to the country, following the terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou and in the northern part of the country on 15 January that killed 32 people and injured more than 60.
Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Mimica said: "I want to welcome the peaceful and successful elections that were the last step of an exemplary transition process. This is a victory for Burkina Faso and good news for the region and the continent. I also want to reiterate our solidarity after the January attacks and underline the fact that Europe is strongly committed to support Burkina Faso and the Sahel countries in their fight against terrorism and extremism."
Concretely, the EU disbursed €128 million of development support to the country in 2015, with a total contribution of €623 million foreseen under the 11th European Development Fund for the timeframe 2014-2020. This support will focus on good governance, health, food security, sustainable agriculture and water. An ambitious package of actions worth €400 million could be adopted as early as 2016. The objectives will be to help the new authorities deliver support quickly to the population given the high expectations after the end of the transition period.
As a transition country for migrants towards the North of Africa or Europe, and a country of origin for intraregional mobility, Burkina Faso is one of the countries eligible to benefit from the newly created "EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa". Projects potentially eligible for the Trust Fund are currently being identified.
The visit will also be an opportunity to hold discussions with the newly-elected government after the recent presidential and legislative elections. In Burkina Faso, Commissioner Mimica will meet President Kaboré and Prime Minister Kaba Thieba, to exchange views on the upcoming challenges after the peaceful legislative and presidential elections. The elections were an important milestone in driving the country towards the consolidation of democracy, which must now be reinforced through the tenure of municipal elections, due to take place on 22 May 2016.
The Commissioner will also visit an EU-funded health centre during his visit. The medical centre treats epidemic patients and is also a maternity hospital. While the Ebola epidemic seems to be now under control in West Africa, it is important for Burkina Faso to continue to build up its national capacities to prevent and manage a potential outbreak. Moreover, addressing maternal and child mortality is also of crucial importance.
Finally, Commissioner Mimica will participate in the inauguration of a Transport Weighing Centre. It aims at preserving national roads by controlling the carriers' loads. Road infrastructure represents a large investment for the country and this project has the potential to unlock further investments, which will play a key role in strengthening sound regional cooperation.
The sum of €623 million was allocated under the 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme (NIP) which was signed in September 2014 and is being financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The National Indicative Programme (NIP) focuses on three areas: (i) good governance, (ii) health, and (iii) sustainable agriculture, 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.
Throughout the 2014-2020 period, the EU will also support civil society organisations (with a support worth €21 million) and the institutional strengthening of relevant ministries and public institutions.
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.