The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA, French acronym) is an organisation that brings together eight member states from West Africa, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The eight member states of the UEMOA share a single currency (CFA franc) and aim to create a harmonised and integrated economic space. The UEMOA is made up of six governing bodies, including its Commission which is headquartered in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), the body responsible for policy implementation within the Union. Despite its progresses and being considered one of Africa’s better integrated regions, much remains to be done including in the areas of transport and infrastructure. The entire UEMOA, and Burkina Faso specifically, rely strongly on road transportation for intra-community trading, with 90% of such trading being secured by road. The shortcomings in the area of infrastructures, especially road transport infrastructures, within the UEMOA, coupled with a rapid population growth resulting in a generally young population, has led to an increased need for socioeconomic infrastructures. The improvement and expansion of these infrastructures to ensure their level of quality and resilience would allow Burkina Faso, and the entire UEMOA, to promote trade and the development of the services industry, particularly those with high added value likely to create decent jobs for the population, thus fostering the structural transformation of the economy.

Additionally, in the Sahelian context, where the struggle against terrorism also entails a strong economic and social dimension, developing transport infrastructure is key for Burkina Faso and its democratic transition, as well as for the UEMOA region at large. This is why the European Union (EU) has mobilised substantial funding to support the relevant Ministries in Burkina Faso (Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Transport, Urban Mobility and Road Safety) and the Transport Directorate at the UEMOA Commission.

To this end, AETS was awarded three contracts to support the three abovementioned entities. From July 2020, two experts will be employed as technical assistants, one French-Burkinabe for 18 months in both ministries and one Senegalese for 10 months at the UEMOA Directorate. They will also supervise the implementation of several studies (project monitoring and evaluation, rural roads standards, public works rates inventory, transport corridors and freight, food supply chains, parking issues in Ouagadougou, etc.), events and trainings of local/regional officials.