Burkina Faso to pursue its work to alleviate poverty

15 Nov 2010

The Government of Burkina Faso has decided to continue the experimental National Multifunctional Platform Program supported by the UNDP which began in 2000.

The new phase of the program covers the next five years. It aims to consolidate and broaden access to the affordable energy services supplied by the multifunctional platform which distributes water and electricity, amongst other things.

According to Burkina Faso’s Minister for the Economy and Finances, “what makes the Burkina Faso experiment stand out is that from the beginning it has not been like the usual plans which tend to reduce the platform to a food processing unit. The aim is to make it a tool for accessing modern energy services.”

To date, more than 600,000 people in 441 villages have benefited from the establishment of the platforms in rural areas. Their versatility has stimulated the creation and modernization of craftsmanship and the sale of energy supplied by the diesel engine has enabled local welders, electronics repairmen and even video club enthusiasts to set up shop in the villages covered.

The platforms also play an essential role in alleviating poverty by liberating women from their long, arduous daily duties and allowing them to earn additional income and improve access to basic social services such as healthcare, education and water.

Turnover of nearly 200 million CFA Francs (approximately 415,000 dollars) a year has been generated by the women managing the platforms, according to the Minister for the Economy and Finances who encourages them to take ownership of these businesses to ensure long-term viability.

Mr Bembamba emphasized that the experiment has highlighted the role the platforms play in each village as regards sustaining economic development and he calls on the UNDP to continue its work to raise additional funding.

“Thanks to the support of UNDP, the program has developed a partnership with the private sector, particularly with Shell, Aarhus and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he says. “This has encouraged greater mobilization of financial resources and experimentation of platforms managed by private operators”.