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- Officer stories: Omar Al-Kadhi provides an insider’s view of development in Burkina Faso
Officer stories: Omar Al-Kadhi provides an insider’s view of development in Burkina Faso
As published in the 01/2020 issue of the OPEC Fund Quarterly
I’ve been Burkina Faso Country Officer since joining the OPEC Fund in 2014. My first mission to the country was two months after joining – it was an appraisal mission for the second phase of the Ouagadougou Water Supply project, which we subsequently approved. We recently completed the project and it has been very satisfying to see this on the ground. Witnessing people access fresh water in and around the capital Ouagadougou is wonderful.
The unique aspect of our profession is being able to witness an accomplished project. It is satisfying to see the development impact on beneficiaries. Our projects put human beings at the center, and during this mission, I could tell that the people of Burkina Faso recognized this, and very much appreciated it.
The OPEC Fund is a comparatively small institution, but we are very quick and agile. Our impact in the field goes way beyond our size. We are efficient in what we do and we do it well – that’s why people like to work with us.
At the University of Koudougou launching ceremony, I was among many different people, including students – the direct beneficiaries – and other stakeholders. I was asked to make a short speech and I have to admit it was the students I was worried about, not the ministers and officials. I didn’t know how they would react. After my speech, the students were clapping and came up to me to talk. I could feel their hope. It’s because they’d seen something tangible – something real – with our Ouagadougou University Phase 2 project, completed and ready to use by students in Ouagadougou. The construction quality and the time deadlines we met means that the Ouagadougou project is now an operation in Burkina Faso that everyone is speaking about. It gives other people hope, even outside of the project area.
Universities and hospitals are crucial for the future of people in Burkina Faso. The OPEC Fund is among the very few development finance institutions involved in the higher education sector in the country. As part of its national strategy, the government of Burkina Faso has started a gradual decentralization policy for higher education and research facilities. The OPEC Fund’s help has been requested and people have a lot of hope in our potential to support this policy.
We’re driven by the needs and aspirations of the government and the people. They are in the driving seat.”
See also main article Building Burkina Faso