• Burkina Faso is a low-income, landlocked Sub-Saharan African country with limited natural resources. Its population, which is growing at an average annual rate of 3.1%, was estimated at almost 18.6 million inhabitants in 2016. The economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, with close to 80% 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.

    Political Context

    Elected through a democratic process in late 2015, President Kaboré is halfway through his term, with the next elections slated for 2020. For the past few months, President Kaboré and his government have been facing social discontent marked by major strikes and protests, organized by unions in several economic sectors, to demand salary increases and social benefits.

    Moreover, like other countries in the subregion, Burkina Faso is experiencing increasingly challenging security conditions. Although it had been spared for a long time, the country has now entered a cycle of increasingly frequent jihadist attacks.

    To overcome these common challenges together, the Sahelian countries (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad) convened the G5 Sahel in February 2014.

    In July 2017, the Sahel Alliance was established by the European Union, France, Germany, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank to support these countries’ efforts and help with regional stabilization as they continue to implement their development policies. Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom joined the Alliance, and other partners are expected to take part.

    Economic Overview

    Economic growth increased to 6.4% in 2017 (against 5.9% in 2016), mainly as a result of expanding gold production and an increase in public investment in infrastructure. The increase in consumption linked to growth of the wage bill also supported economic growth. Although the inflation rate remained low at 0.4% in 2017, it was an improvement compared to 2016 (-0.2%). This reflects the weak performance of the 2017/18 agricultural season, which led to a grain deficit of 12%.

    Public finances have deteriorated significantly, with the public deficit worsening to 7.7% of GDP in 2017 against 3.5% in 2016. The increase in tax revenues by one percentage point of GDP was not sufficient to offset increases in the wage bill, transfers, and public investments. To finance the public deficit, the Government combined concessional aid and borrowing on the regional market.

    The current account deficit also deteriorated to 8.4% of GDP in 2017 (against 7.2% of GDP in 2016) owing to the increase in the balance of trade deficit resulting from imports and international oil prices.

    The economic outlook remains favorable in the short and medium term, with GDP growth projected to stabilize around 6% over the period 2018-2020. The economy is expected to be supported by the agricultural, services, and mining sectors. Net exports and private consumption are also projected to support medium-term growth. Inflation is projected to remain below 3%, in line with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) convergence criteria.

    The current account deficit is projected to hold steady at 8% of GDP in 2018 and narrow to 7% of GDP over the next two to three years. The budget deficit (including grants) is expected to fall to 5% of GDP in 2018, then to 3% of GDP beginning in 2019, in accordance with the public deficit limit established by WAEMU.

    This outlook is, however, subject to major internal and external risks. On the external front, the country is vulnerable to the volatility of oil import prices and gold and cotton prices. On the domestic front, the terrorist threat and social movements, including public sector strikes, can have a negative impact on the mining sector and on tourism.

    Human Development

    Despite a noticeable improvement in recent years, maternal and child health indicators have not yet attained the targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES). The maternal mortality rate fell from 484 per 100,000 live births in 1998 to 330 per 100,000 live births in 2016, while use of contraception declined from 34.3% in 2014 to 31.1% in 2015, with a fertility rate of 5.4 children per woman. The percentage of assisted childbirths increased from 76% to 81.9% in 2016.

    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 the 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. Overall, 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). In 2014, life expectancy was 58.6 years.

    Despite a downward trend, malnutrition remains endemic, with a prevalence of acute malnutrition of 7.6 % in 2016 compared to 15.5% in 1998 and an incidence of stunted growth of 27.3%, compared to 34.6% in 1998 (SMART 2016).

    Burkina Faso also made progress in the area of education, with the gross enrollment rate (GER) rising from 3% to 4% between 2011 and 2016. This represents a completion rate of 88.9% at the primary level, 49% at the post-primary level, and 16.2% at the secondary level.

    Improvement was also noted in the area of gender equality, with the same proportion of access and completion among girls and boys for the primary cycle. However, disparities exist at the post-primary level and widen at the secondary level where only 5% of girls complete secondary education, that is, half as many as boys.

    The poverty rate fell slightly between 2009 and 2014, from 46% to 40.1%.

    Development Challenges

    Burkina Faso remains vulnerable to climatic 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 subregion, its openness to international trade, and export diversification.

    lastupdated: Dec 05, 2018

  • The National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES 2016-2020) amounts to approximately $26.3 billion. 

    To support the PNDES, in July 2018, the World Bank adopted the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Burkina Faso for the 2018-2023 period. Aligned with the PNDES objectives, this framework will guide World Bank support over the next five years.

    The World Bank's current portfolio in Burkina Faso includes roughly 30 projects, seven of which are regional and represent a total engagement of $1.6 billion.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    The commitment of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, in Burkina Faso is currently estimated at $58 million, with funding for projects in five main sectors: mining, finance, insurance, electricity, and trade. It also mobilizes more than $10 million in advisory services.

    IFC’s strategy is based on two pillars:

    • Advisory support and technical assistance to the Government to implement measures likely to improve the business climate and the health sector and enhance public-private partnerships;
    • Direct financing for businesses, primarily in the infrastructure, industry, services, agribusiness, mining, and energy sectors, as well as for financial institutions.

    IFC supports the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Burkina Faso by providing financing and guarantees to banks. It also assists the Government with the implementation of reforms aimed at improving the investment climate.

    In addition, IFC is helping develop the health sector through the Health in Africa (HiA) initiative, with particular emphasis on private health care.

    lastupdated: Dec 05, 2018

  • Water and Sanitation Sector

    Burkina Faso has achieved remarkable results in the water and sanitation sector, which the World Bank has been supporting for more than 15 years. 

    The Urban Water Sector Project (PSEU: 2009-2018). In December 2016, approximately 610,000 persons had access to running water through household connections and standpipes. Approximately 440,000 persons had access to better sanitation services and some 120,000 school children benefited from better sanitation facilities at school, with a positive impact on their health and scholastic performance.

    As a whole, the efforts undertaken in this sector are of direct benefit to more than 1.7 million people. In June 2018, the World Bank approved an unprecedented $300 million in financing aimed at improving the access, sustainability, and efficiency of water and sanitation services in urban and rural areas, ultimately benefiting 2.4 million people.

    The Support Project for Agro-Sylvo-Pastoral Sectors (PAFASP)

    This project has helped increase the income of its beneficiaries and promote agricultural exports.  It has been of direct benefit to approximately 385,000 persons, 30% of whom are women. The income of approximately 66% of the beneficiaries increased by at least 50%.  Agricultural exports totaled 275,000 metric tons (surpassing the initial goal of 106,500 metric tons) on the international markets and 206,000 metric tons (compared to the projected 96,000 metric tons) on the regional markets.

    lastupdated: Dec 05, 2018

  • The Government is coordinating the activities of donors (including the World Bank, the French Development Agency, the United Nations, and the European Union) and has set up Sector Dialogue Frameworks (SDFs). The National Plan of Action for Effective Development Cooperation has replaced the National Plan for Aid Effectiveness.

    lastupdated: Dec 05, 2018



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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
179 Avenue du President Save Zerbo
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
For general information and inquiries
Lionel F. Yaro
Communications Officer
For project-related issues and complaints