• 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 percent, was estimated at about 18 million inhabitants in 2015. 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.

    Political context

    Presidential elections were held on November 29, 2015, following the popular uprising in October 2014 that forced President Blaise Campaoré into exile after 27 years in power. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of the Mouvement du peuple pour le progrès (MPP) emerged as the first civilian president to be democratically elected since Burkina Faso’s independence.

    Economic overview

    The opening of new industrial mines, plus a slight rebound in gold and cotton prices, and rising grain production after relatively good rainfall all paved the way for a gradual return to economic growth in 2016. Real GDP grew at 5.4 percent, well above the rate in 2014 and 2015 (4 percent), but below the average of 6 percent posted during the 2003-2013 period. The implementation of fiscal and budgetary reforms also led to modest improvement in public finances. These reforms helped increase own revenues to 16 percent of GDP in 2016, compared to 14.2 percent in 2015. Investment expenditure rebounded slightly to 9.4 percent of GDP, below the level in 2013 (14.6 percent). Grain availability and the drop in oil and gas prices at the pump held inflation at 0.6 percent.

    In spite of higher international oil prices, Burkina Faso continued to improve its external position in 2016, with a current account deficit of 7.6 percent of GDP, compared to 11.3 percent in 2013. External support and the resumption of foreign direct investments (FDI), particularly in the mining sector, helped narrow the external deficit.

    Medium-term outlook

    Despite insecurity in the sub-region, improvements in the international economic environment and the country’s new political stability bode well for economic growth in the medium term.

    Human development

    The maternal mortality rate fell from 484 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1998 to 330 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. The neonatal mortality rate dropped from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 28 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, while the infant mortality rate fell from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 65 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010.

    Life expectancy at birth is 58.6 years (2014).

    The gross preschool enrollment rate increased from 2 percent in 2005 to 4 percent in 2014, while the primary enrollment rate rose from 57 percent to 86.9 percent in 2014. 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. However, the youth literacy rate, which stood at 28.7 percent in 2010, is lower than the average rate of 71 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

    Development challenges

    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: May 25, 2017

  • Burkina Faso has a new development strategy outlined in the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES 2016-2020) in the amount of CFAF 15,478 billion (approximately US$26.3 billion). With World Bank Group support, the Burkinabè government organized a conference of Burkina Faso’s partners in Paris in December 2016 to mobilize the resources needed to implement the PNDES.

    While the government undertook to use roughly 63.8 percent of its own funds to finance the PNDES and to seek around 36.2 percent (approximately CFAF 5,600 billion), the country’s development partners pledged more than CFAF 18,000 billion (around $36 billion).

    The World Bank Group pledged $3.8 billion to help fund the PNDES.

    The World Bank has disbursed funds for its two national and regional budget support operations for a total of $150 million, which is equivalent to roughly CFAF 88 billion or approximately 49 percent of the 2016 budget deficit.

    The World Bank’s commitment to Burkina Faso

    In 2016, the World Bank held consultations with various social, professional, and economic groups in Burkina Faso to prepare a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) of the economic and social situation in the country and develop its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF). The SCD is the analytical framework on which the World Bank bases its activities in each of its partner countries.

    The CPF should align with the country’s National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES).

    The World Bank Group’s current portfolio in Burkina Faso includes 17 national projects (a commitment of more than US$1,213 billion), 7 regional projects (US$163.80 million), and 6 trust fund operations (US$103 million).

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    The IFC’s commitment in Burkina Faso is currently estimated at US$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:

    • Support, advice, and technical assistance to the government to implement measures 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.

    Last Updated: May 25, 2017

  • The World Bank has successfully contributed to the development of Burkina Faso by providing support to the following sectors:

    Rural development sector

    The third phase of the second National Land Management Program (PNGT2-3) is aimed at building the institutional capacity of local communities and promoting decentralization. This phase was made possible through grants amounting to US$70 million from the World Bank and US$7.71 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The PNGT has emerged as a true model of local development in recent years.

    Transport sector

    transport sector project in the amount of US$108 million, which closed in March 2013, facilitated, among other things, the rehabilitation of 3,336 kilometers of unpaved roads and created 3,864 temporary jobs as part of highly labor intensive public works.

    Mining sector

    Burkina Faso has been declared “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliant.” The Mineral Development Support Project will help the country strengthen its national capacity to better monitor and evaluate mining activities to ensure that revenues from mining are benefiting the country.

    Water and sanitation sector

    An US$80 million project approved in May 2009 is supporting the government’s efforts to achieve the urban water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Additional financing was recently approved to ensure more secure water and sanitation services in Ouagadougou, and improve access to these basic services for the poor.

    Education sector

    The Education Access and Quality Improvement Project (PAAQE) in the amount of US$51 million seeks to help the Government of Burkina Faso increase access to pre-school and secondary education in the five poorest regions, improve the quality of teaching and learning, and build the institutional capacity of the education sector.

    Health sector

    The World Bank is providing support to the government through several projects totaling US$116.4 million. It also provides the government with technical support in the areas of project governance, targeting of the poorest, and nutrition and health financing, including universal health coverage (UHC). 

    Last Updated: May 25, 2017

  • The government is coordinating donor activities 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.

    Last Updated: May 25, 2017



Burkina Faso: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Lionel F. Yaro
Communications Associate
179 Avenue du President Save Zerbo
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Paola Ridolfi
Country Program Coordinator
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433