MCC’s five-year, $480.9 million compact with Burkina Faso will close at the end of July.
Last week, I joined MCC’s Cassandra Butts and Alicia Phillips Mandaville along with senior officials of the Government of Burkina Faso at ceremonies to inaugurate an 89-mile road and a 5,535-acre irrigated perimeter—two important projects funded by MCC’s five-year, $480.9 million compact. More than 1,000 Burkinabé also attended each event; many of them wore shirts emblazoned with the MCC and MCA-Burkina Faso logos. They cheered as speakers discussed the accomplishments the compact has already delivered and that should make a real difference in many communities. I have lived in Burkina Faso for four years—first as a Peace Corps volunteer and then as a member of the MCC Resident Country Mission—and I have always been struck by how much this country has embraced MCC and its approach to development. Whether discussing the compact with women beneficiaries of the compact’s Agriculture Development Project or in a meeting with the MCA-Burkina Faso’s Board of Directors, the country’s ownership is evident. The Government of Burkina Faso adhered to the commitments established in the compact. Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao has held seven cabinet meetings to discuss compact activities since taking office just three years ago, and he has also visited project sites on numerous occasions to discuss the need for contractors to complete the work before the compact ends on July 31. The MCA Board—comprising public officials and representatives of civil society and the private sector—has held 47 meetings to provide oversight of the compact. The government’s cooperation has been truly instrumental in achieving results from the compact. And in speaking with beneficiaries in Dî—where MCC helped build a new irrigation perimeter and train farmers—it is clear that many are feeling the results. The traditional singer in one of the villages says that before the compact, she received contributions for her singing in coins. Since the construction of the perimeter, she now receives bills—something she credits to residents having more disposable income. It is humbling to enter a village to celebrate a compact achievement and hear blessings in Dioula—a language I remember from my Peace Corps days—as a show of genuine gratitude directed at the American people. But I am not the only one who recognizes the excitement felt by residents. The MCA project directors and managers know better than I about the long-term potential of the MCC investment in this small country, and I look forward to seeing that potential realized in the years ahead.
Alison Wallace, Development Specialist