Her Excellency Ms. Anne Konate
Minister for Economic Development, Burkina Faso

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
22nd March 2002

The delegation of Burkina Faso joins with all those who have spoken from the outset of this Conference to thank the Mexican authorities and in particular those of this beautiful city of Monterrey for the extremely warm welcome that has been extended to us.

This international meeting on Financing for Development at the beginning of the third millennium is a powerful sign of the transformations underway in our world. These transformations, namely all manner of threats from all sources are of great concern to us and command our attention with every passing day. 

I would like to extend our congratulations to the United Nations system and the Secretary-General for the extremely important role played in promoting peace and development in an increasingly interdependent but difficult world given the many upheavals that we experience every day.

The current level of poverty, which affects most of the people on this planet, is a serious and unacceptable infringement on the dignity of humanity and a threat to international peace and security. In this regard, solidarity between states, nations and peoples should be seen demonstrated at all levels and entails rights and duties. As a result, we must all take part in decision-making and the implementation of these decisions.

The involvement of other players, such as civil society and the private sector in the quest for solutions to the problems of financing for development, requires from all the willingness and determination to make this century one of prosperity for humanity. Therefore, we must develop and strengthen “government, private and civil society” tripartism at the national level. 

The different themes encompassed by financing for development are extremely relevant. Our Conference must promptly take operational measures and firm commitments on all of these questions if we truly want to have a positive influence on the course of history and reduce the level of poverty. To do this, official develop assistance must be increased, become more and have fewer conditions.

With respect to the matter of mobilization of national resources, my Government has been working since 1991, with the support of the international community, on setting up a set of reform measures of an institutional, economic, financial and political nature. Mindful of the fact that domestic savings must be the main source of public investment, we have undertaken a vast programme of macroeconomic and structural reforms. This has made it possible to improve public finance. We have also made a special effort to increase the level of mobilization of domestic resources through improved tax collection and in our combat against fraud. 

We have done so bearing in mind the fluctuation of official development assistance, which means that the financing of growth and the development process must depend increasingly on domestic savings. There are other measures such as the development of private initiative and the strengthening of the banking sector. 

With respect to the mobilization of international resources for financing for development through direct foreign investment and other private capital flows, the Government has made considerable efforts in order to create positive conditions to stabilize the macroeconomic environment for political, economic and legal reforms in order to create an ideal environment for private investment. The private sector is considered the engine of development. However, these efforts have not been rewarded, because direct foreign investment in our country is fairly low despite the improvement in strengthening of our institutional and legal environment.

Market access develops international trade and helps reduce poverty. Trade is the most important mechanism to mobilize internal and external resources. However, foreign trade in Burkina Faso remains insignificant given the fact that the economy is not very competitive and the many obstacles that we face in developing trade. 

Burkina Faso is structurally dependent on foreign resources to finance its economy. Official development assistance is for my country the main source of financing, given that, as I said earlier, we do not really benefit from foreign direct investment, despite all the measures and concessions that we have made.

Perhaps, if donor countries had respected their commitment, which has been recalled on many occasions, to devote 0.7 per cent of the their gross national product to official development assistance, we would not be here today to talk about eradicating poverty. 

We hope that the untying of aid will make official develop assistance more effective. 

Indebtedness has become a true development problem for Burkina Faso, and its consequences are dramatic. As a result, since September 1999 my country has adopted a national debt strategy in order to slow down the debt increase. We welcome the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative, and ask that its implementation be accelerated and strengthened and that the Initiative be expanded. Cancellation of the debt of my country along with an increase in assistance would make it possible to make more progress in reducing poverty. 

The way debt is dealt with in the HIPC Initiative is commendable, but it remains inadequate in scope and implementation. Indeed, despite the fact that it is an original measure, the HIPC Initiative is marginal and limited given the current financial needs when it comes to combating poverty. It would be desirable that we make it more efficient by extending it to all lending authorities and obtaining from all comparable terms.

With respect to systemic issues, we must adopt principles of governance that are adopted and open, placing the globalization of the economy at the service of development in the context of growing interdependence.

Over time, we have established a consensus around points that were formerly controversial. I am speaking about the role of the private sector in mobilizing resources for development purposes; the undeniable importance of official development assistance in financing for development; making poverty reduction a primary objective of financing for development and finally improving cooperation within the United Nations system. 

Therefore, this is a timely opportunity to respond to the different concerns that I mentioned earlier, which involve all countries. The turn of events has made it possible to look at a wide range of questions at the heart of the debate on Financing for Development. Financing of Global Public Goods should make it possible to progress in reducing poverty and safeguarding international peace and security. This is why my country supports the idea of financing for collective goods on a global scale.

I would not end my statement without raising the question of the follow-up on the conclusions of our Conference. My country expressed the wish that an effective follow-up mechanism be set up to make it possible to truly make progress in the war against poverty and for development so that Monterrey will not simply be just another conference.

Millions of people living under the absolute poverty threshold are now looking to Monterrey. Together, we must assume before history our collective and individual responsibility to eradicate poverty on our planet. We have undertaken the commitment. We have the means to do so.

* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.

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