Since 2019, UNCDF has been implementing its Inclusive Digital Economies strategy in Burkina Faso through a series of projects.
Several initiatives and programmes have been launched thanks to the support of UNCDF partners. These initiatives include the PARI project “Programme to Support Resilience through Innovation” and the “Renewable Energy for Resilience Fund (FERR-BF)”, which are both supported by the Luxembourg Development Cooperation in Burkina Faso.
The PARI programme has enabled the arrangement of 38,654 members into savings groups, the mobilization of CFA franc 189,378,020 in informal savings, and the digitalization of transactions of almost 400 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) among other things. On 16 February 2021, the UNCDF Burkina Faso team accompanied by the Regional Manager for Inclusive Digital Economies, Sabine Mensah, presented the results of the PARI programme at the office of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
TELBA for MSMEs
TELBA is a new project that facilitates access to blended finance for MSMEs in the agricultural, forestry and renewable energy value chains. TELBA means "let us support them" in Mooré, a local language in Burkina Faso. This project is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) with an amount of CFA franc 2.6 billion. The signing of the financing agreement took place in the presence of Mensah, who expressed her satisfaction at seeing this project take off. "This preparatory phase of the programme gives the opportunity to sit down with all the stakeholders of the financial ecosystem and see how to plan the programme for an optimal use of the guarantee mechanism that will be put in place to enable the financing of MSMEs," said Mensah.
For inclusive digital transformation
Burkina Faso has already started its digital transformation journey and UNCDF wants to ensure that no Burkinabe is left behind. Between October 2020 and February 2021, UNCDF in collaboration with the Burkinabe authorities prepared the Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard (IDES) report. Burkina Faso is among the first countries along with Uganda, Nepal and the Solomon Islands to have an IDES report. The report focuses on the state of the development of the digital economy in Burkina Faso. Based on four key pillars, namely policy and regulation, infrastructure, innovation, and skills, the report highlights the progress and constraints in the digital economy of Burkina Faso. Some key achievements include a positive regulatory environment and support for the private sector to further develop digital mass-market services in the telecommunication and financial sectors to strengthen the necessary infrastructure. However, efforts still need to be made on improving digital skills of the population, providing digital training and the development of fintechs and start-ups. Several recommendations were added in this regard.
Mensah, who was in Ouagadougou for the occasion, handed over the report to Hadja Fatimata Ouattara, Minister of Digital Economy and Postal Development in Burkina Faso, on 18 February 2021 during a meeting between UNCDF and the Burkinabe government. Ouattara assured that the country is on the right track for the digital transformation of its economy and will consider the various recommendations made.
This IDES report and the projects underway in Burkina Faso are part of the new global digital strategy of UNCDF. This strategy will enable a new dynamic in government initiatives on digital and financial inclusion. This new dynamic was part of the objective for Mensah’s visit to Burkina Faso from 15 February to 19 February 2021. During this visit, she reviewed with donors the UNCDF projects in Burkina Faso and met with private sector stakeholders involved in the implementation of these programmes in order to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital era.