OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO - During their visit to the West African country of
Burkina Faso, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture Mike Johanns hailed the decision of the new U.S. development agency,
the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), to select Burkina Faso as one of its
newest eligible members.
This decision will enable the country to negotiate a compact with the MCC for
a transformative development program. Burkina Faso now joins Benin, Mali and
Senegal -- other cotton-producing countries in the region -- as MCC
"We congratulate Burkina Faso for its selection and we were privileged to
deliver this information personally to President Compaore’. MCC eligibility
offers Burkina Faso, along with other key countries, the opportunity to address
long-term development obstacles, including those faced by cotton farmers," said
Portman. "It will result in potentially hundreds of millions of grant dollars
flowing to the country in a manner determined by Burkina Faso itself."
"Expanding our partnership with Burkina Faso has the potential to help
facilitate new economic opportunities for trade in agriculture, which represents
a substantial portion of their economy," said Secretary Johanns. "We are proud
of their success in encouraging economic and personal freedoms, and we will
continue to support Burkina Faso and all nations across the African continent
that foster an environment where development can flourish."
This selection by the MCC Board, on which Ambassador Portman serves, shows
that the United States continues to recognize the development needs of
cotton-producing countries in West Africa, like Burkina Faso, and is committed
Burkina Faso joins ten other sub-Saharan African countries – including fellow
West African cotton producers Benin, Mali and Senegal -- as MCC-eligible.
Benin’s current MCC proposal stands at $300 million; Mali’s proposal at $212
million; and Senegal’s proposal at $255 million – potentially over $750 million
in grants to the region from the United States.
Ambassador Portman and Secretary Johanns arrived in the Burkina Faso capital
of Ouagadougou on November 9 for discussions with the trade and agriculture
ministers of Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Chad, and Senegal on the World Trade
Organization’s Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The discussions focused
largely on the handling in the Doha negotiations of cotton, a product that is
highly important to the economies of the five West African countries
participating in the meeting in Ouagadougou.