The Swiss cabinet has pledged CHF30 million ($30.3 million) in aid to Burkina Faso for the period 2017-2020. Its main targets: job creation and poverty reduction.
Announcing the funding in a press releaseexternal link, the government praised progress made in the African state in tackling corruption and improving education and health since a 2014 popular uprising, but said that tackling the high poverty rate remained paramount.
As a “priority partner” for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), aid to Burkina Faso is channelled towards three areas: improving governance and democracy, boosting education and vocational training, and developing local economies.
Trade relations between the two countries remain low, well below the amount allocated in aid. Swiss imports from Burkina Faso are primarily agricultural goods and gold, an industry which has come under scrutiny by NGOs in the past.
Burkina Faso, a country of over 20 million people in west Africa, remains one of the poorest countries in the world, despite current high growth rates and an ongoing demographic boom.
Internal terrorist attacks – including an Al-Qaeda-led assault on an international hotel in Ouagadougou last year, which claimed the lives of two Swiss citizens – and conflicts close to its borders have also complicated progress.
Earlier in October, Burkinabe president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was in Bern, where he met his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard and talked about the security situation in the country and the surrounding Sahel region.
The SDC, which has an office in Ouagadougou, has been present in the country since 1974.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos