IFAD provides US$16.2 million to Burkina Faso for Rural Business Development

Rome, 23 September 2009 – A US$8.1 million loan and US$8.1 million grant from IFAD to Burkina Faso for the Rural Business Development Services Programme will help to develop the local private sector and harness the desire of young people to develop  non-farm businesses.

The loan and grant agreement for the programme was signed today in Rome by Sophie Sow, Ambassador of Burkina Faso to Italy and Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to IFAD, and Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD.

The IFAD programme will scale up and consolidate the successful elements of the recently-closed Rural Microenterprise Support Project, adding a strong focus on knowledge management and on the enabling environment needed for sustainable pro-poor microenterprise development.

Burkina Faso is one of the best-placed countries in the region with regard to rural microenterprise developments. Its population enjoys a reputation for being extremely hardworking and ingenious in exploiting a meagre natural resource base. Many young people in rural areas are eager to take up non-farm activities, including as business development service providers, a promising new sector that the programme will help to strengthen.

A total of 60 rural enterprise resource centres will be set up across Burkina Faso to act as the main contact point for budding rural entrepreneurs and to facilitate their access to resources.

The target group consists of 12,000 rural microenterprises with particular attention to women and young people. The aim is to increase the access of target groups to business development services, vocational training and technology and enhance the environment for the development of the local rural private sector.

To date, IFAD has funded 12 projects in Burkina Faso for a total investment of about US$ 158.6 million.

Press release No.: IFAD/41/09

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes, and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 340 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).