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Fact Sheet: U.S. Expanded Engagement in Burkina Faso
May 7, 2020

A man speaking at a podium outdoors with flags in the background

Ambassador Andrew Young led expanded U.S. bilateral engagement in Burkina Faso following the country’s tumultuous transition to a democratic rule in the wake of the popular uprising in 2014.  The United States remains a trusted partner standing with the government and the Burkinabe people as they strive to create a bright future made by their own hands in the face of complex political, economic, and security challenges.  Stimulating equitable economic growth and development, promoting good governance, and supporting to the country’s security forces have been and will continue to be the pillars of U.S. diplomacy in Burkina Faso.  The U.S.- Burkinabe relationship is an evolving partnership that will adapt to meet current and future challenges to stability.  Our diplomacy is enduring and much more profound than a single project or public appearance.

Promoting Prosperity and Growth

  • U.S. Government backed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed a $498 million Compact and approved Burkina Faso for a second Compact in December 2016 to focus on the energy sector.
  • USAID Office of Transition Initiative (OTI) team opened in Burkina Faso in August 2018 to provide short- and medium-term solutions to build resilience in vulnerable communities across the Nord and Sahel regions.
  • Power Africa, a partnership of twelve U.S. government agencies, seeks to create 30,000 MW of new generated power for sub-Saharan Africa and Burkina Faso by 2030.
  • USAID launched the second phase of RISE in 2019, through which it will invest an additional $122 million over five years.
  • During the food crisis of 2018 that affected nearly a million Burkinabe, the United States provided over $10 million in emergency food relief that contributed to a successful multi-donor response.
  • Our programs seek to improve the resilience of populations at risk to bounce back from such crises; for example, by improving agricultural and livestock production and working with religious, traditional, and community leaders to improve access to reproductive health services for women.

Partnership in the Country’s Health Systems

  • The United states tackles some of the most prominent health challenges through multi-million dollar programs such as the Presidential Malaria Initiative, PEPFAR, and maternal and child health, as well $20 million for humanitarian response.
  • The United States is committing additional financial assistance, totaling 2,300,000,000 CFA ($4 million) in health and humanitarian aid. This assistance, through USAID, will enable health care institutions in Burkina Faso to save lives through prevention and control measures, community engagement and communication, and improved coordination among the Government of Burkina Faso, health professionals, and the international donor community.
  • The United States remains committed to partnering with Burkina Faso to protect the health of the country’s citizens and the health of our global community. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $1.4 billion in Burkina Faso’s development, including $222 million in health assistance for preventing and treating malaria, increasing access to water and nutritious food to keep people healthy and stave off disease, and responding to HIV/AIDS and other neglected tropical diseases.
  • More recently since 2018, the U.S. Global Health Security Agenda funding through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helped Burkina Faso established a national public health emergency operations center (CORUS).
  • The CORUS plays a pivotal leadership and coordination role in responding to infectious disease outbreaks and other public health events of concern, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, we continue our collaboration with both the government and citizens of Burkina Faso to strengthen democracy, security, and economic development

A Steadfast Partner During Times of Insecurity

  • U.S. security assistance to Burkina Faso has grown exponentially in order to help a valued partner address real security challenges while also promoting an appropriate role for the armed forces in a democracy and reinforcing Burkina Faso’s regional counter terrorism and peacekeeping capacity.
  • Over 3,000 Burkinabe soldiers and gendarmes are direct recipients of U.S. training and equipment programs each year, including peacekeeping training.
  • The U.S.-led military exercise, FLINTLOCK, hosted in Burkina Faso in 2019, increased the capacity of host nation SOF, as well as interoperability with forces from African and Western partner nations.  Members of the Burkinabe armed forces participated in FLINTLOCK 20 in Mauritania and FLINTLOCK 18 in Niger.
  • To address the surge in the use of Improvised Explosive Devices, the United States funded counter-IED training programs totaling more than $2 million in 2020. These programs have greatly enhanced security forces awareness of and ability to counter IED threats.
  • S. Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) provides $5 million in programming to develop the capacity of Burkinabe law enforcement investigators to manage complex terrorism investigations and to improve Burkina Faso’s capabilities to protect its borders, detecting and preventing entry of known or suspected terrorists and their materiel.
  • The U.S. has trained an elite group of gendarmerie (SPEAR) as a quick response team capable of countering terrorism threats in Ouagadougou.
  • S. funding has secured armories around the country and provided prison guard training and equipment to improve the dignity and care of prisoners while avoiding potential recruitment. (INL)
  • The Embassy has trained hundreds of police and gendarmerie in crowd control and leadership helping forces to prepare for elections security, improve relations with local communities, and reduce potential abuses. (INL)
  • The Department of Justice has trained dozens of judges and worked with the Department of Justice to prosecute terrorism cases (DOJ)

 Building Solidarity Through People-to-People Partnerships

  • Our American Center in Ouagadougou and American Corner in Koudougou welcomed more than 20,000 visitors over the past year alone and hosted more than 200 programs ranging from English language courses and information on study in the USA to films and other events.
  • Embassy social media platforms reach hundreds of thousands more Burkinabe, especially youth.  U.S. Embassy initiatives like “Le civisme, c’est moi” and “Je m’engage,” have inspired thousands of hours of community service and reignited a sense of duty in young Burkinabe by encouraging and recognizing Burkinabe who stand up to address challenges in their communities.
  • Another Embassy-sponsored program, Ouagalab is a local tech incubator that encourages young people to address creatively local challenges.  For example, to help clean the environment, inspire youth, and provide educational resources, Ouagalab teaches youth how to build computers out of used milk cartons and spare parts.  Ouagalab is currently also producing masks from local material to help protect IDPs against COVID-19.
  • Our exchange programs — including the prestigious Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellows, Fulbright Program, International Visitors, and Youth Leadership Program — send more than50 Burkinabe a year to the United States on programs to improve leadership, entrepreneurship, public administration, and other specialized skills.  The exchange grantees return to their communities energized with new vision and skills to improve life in their communities.
  • U.S. government funding has taught thousands of rural youth to read and write in local languages and provided entrepreneurial and peace-building skills to hundreds of women who have started small businesses in their communities earning profits and breaking cycles of poverty and violence.
  • The Embassy small grants program including African Women Entrepreneurs Program (AWEP) and the Ambassador’s Self-Help program have seeded businesses now fulfilling international contracts with major U.S. companies and provided water and sanitation, augmented education infrastructure, and improved the lives of refugees and internally displaced persons.