Pöyry provides sustainable urban development in Burkina Faso
Problem: In Burkina Faso local markets suffer from overcrowding, lack of general planning and limited basic infrastructure. Along with being vital social platforms, the markets form the core of local economies as the population relies on the markets to purchase food, clothing, household goods and machinery, and for vendors they are often the only place to commercialize agricultural and other products.
Solution: Pöyry’s urban development services ensure that the market sites are developed in a socially and culturally sustainable way by working together with the local community to improve infrastructure, provide durable constructions and environmentally sustainable solutions as well as enhance the markets’ economic potential and customer experience.
Pöyry contributes to the MCA (Millennium Challenge Account) Burkina Faso Agricultural Development project in nine markets in the Sourou Valley and the Basin of Comoé. Pöyry’s assignment comprises the design for implementation and improvements to market site infrastructure, and the services cover the whole lifecycle of the project. The urban development project will improve the market conditions and increase the markets’ commercial potential.
Securing local cultural and social sustainability is a priority for Pöyry. In order to really understand how the markets function, the company carried out in-depth socio-economic surveying of market vendors in each market site in order to do a needs-based assessment. The project team, composed of local and international experts, also works closely with the client as well as local municipalities, communities and all other stakeholders to ensure that the design is adapted and feasible.
“It’s absolutely crucial that infrastructure solutions are adapted to the needs of local stakeholders and accepted by local populations. Our solutions must take into account specific cultural and social aspects as well as ensure the durability of constructions and their economic sustainability,” Pöyry’s project director Sven Bolomey says.
In the context of the market sites, cultural and social sustainability translates to maintaining the established forms of economic production and adhering to local beliefs and customs. For example, the current positions of the markets may have established functions, such as fishery or livestock production, or they may be central to local beliefs or possess sacred qualities, and therefore are not to be meddled with.
Social sustainability also takes into account both short and long term economic development. First of all, the markets need to be open for business during the construction phase, and secondly a tight balance must be found between “taxing” local vendors for the use of the markets and securing the markets’ future operation.
The environment is another sustainability dimension that Pöyry is considering. Pöyry’s engineering design makes sure that that the impacts of major environmental incidents, such as the rainy season, that can lead to disruptions in market activities, are mitigated. Therefore, the project provides improvements to drainage systems but also solutions for water supply and sanitation as well as solid and liquid waste management.