USTR - U.S. Applauds Selection of Burkina Faso as Candidate for Significant New Development Funding
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

U.S. Applauds Selection of Burkina Faso as Candidate for Significant New Development Funding
11/10/2005

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 eligible.

"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 to helping.

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.

###