Burkina Faso is a low-income, landlocked Sub-Saharan country with limited natural resources. Its population, which is growing at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent, was estimated at almost 18.6 million inhabitants in 2016. The economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, with close to 80 percent of the active population employed in the sector. Cotton is the country’s most important cash crop, while gold exports have gained importance in recent years.
In recent years, there has been an upsurge of terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso. The latest such incident took place last August in Ouagadougou, claiming 19 victims. It was the second such attack in the capital, the first having occurred in January 2016.
The North is the most vulnerable area of the country. The Burkinabè troops deployed there to ensure security
In order to fight terrorism effectively, the Sahel G5 countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali, and Mauritania) cooperate with a view to setting up a sub-regional armed force of 5,000 to launch joint operations.
At the level of domestic politics, Alassane Balla Sakandé was elected president of the National Assembly on September 8, 2017, succeeding Salif Diallo, who died suddenly on August 19, 2017.
The opening up of new industrial mines coupled with a slight rebound in gold and cotton prices and rising grain production paved the way for an acceleration of economic growth in 2016. Real GDP grew at 5.9 percent, well above the 4 percent rate of 2015 and close to the average of 6 percent posted during the 2003-2013 period.
Public finances deteriorated in 2016. The fiscal deficit increased to 3.1 percent (from 2 percent in 2015) as a result of rising investment expenditures and civil service wages, and tax revenues that failed to increase at the same pace. Consumer prices dropped by 0.2 percent owing to the fall in oil prices at the pump.
Burkina Faso continued to improve its external position in 2016, with a current account [deficit] of 6.8 percent of GDP, compared to 8 percent in 2015. External support and the resumption of foreign direct investments (FDI), particularly in the mining sector, helped narrow the external deficit.
Despite insecurity in the sub-region, public investments and the expanding mining sector bode well for economic growth in the medium term.
In Burkina Faso, the overall burden of disease consists mainly in infectious illnesses, particularly through the appearance of non-transmissible ones in recent years. Children under five and women remain the primary victims. Despite a noticeable improvement in recent years, maternal and child health indicators have not yet attained the targets set in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and the National Economic and Social Development Plan (
The under five mortality rate also dropped from 129 deaths per 1,000 live births to 81.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, while neonatal mortality rate dropped from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 23.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. Infant mortality also decreased substantially, falling to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015 from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1998 (EMD 2015). Life expectancy at birth is 58.6 years (2014).
Despite a downward trend, malnutrition remains endemic, with a prevalence of acute malnutrition of 7.6 percent compared to 15.5 percent in 1998 and an incidence of stunted growth of 27.3 percent, compared to 34.6 percent in 1998 (SMART 2016).
Between 2005 and 2014, the gross preschool enrollment rate increased from 2 percent to 4 percent, while the primary enrollment rate rose from 57 percent to 86.9 percent. Access to secondary education also improved, increasing from 20 percent in 2005 to 44.9 percent in lower secondary schools in 2014-2015 and from 5.6 percent to 14 percent in upper secondary schools in the same period. However, the youth literacy rate, which stood at 28.7 percent in 2010, remains lower than the average rate of 71 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Only 28 percent of pupils complete primary school with the required level of competence in mathematics and reading.
The poverty rate fell slightly between 2009 and 2014, from 46 percent to 40.1 percent.
Burkina Faso remains vulnerable to shocks related to changes in rainfall patterns and to fluctuations in the prices of its export commodities on world markets. Its economic and social development will, to some extent, be contingent on political stability in the country and the sub-region, its openness to international trade, and export diversification.
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2017