• Overview

    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.

    Political context

    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 are constantly attacked by armed groups.

    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.

    Economic overview

    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.

    Medium-term outlook

    Despite insecurity in the sub-region, public investments and the expanding mining sector bode well for economic growth in the medium term.

    Human development

    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 (PNDES). The maternal mortality rate fell from 484 per 100,000 live births in 1998 to 341 per 100,000 live births in 2015, while use of contraceptive methods declined from 34.3 percent in 2014 to 31.1 percent in 2015, with a fertility rate of 5.4 children per woman. The percentage of assisted childbirths increased from 76 percent to 83.4 percent in 2015.

    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.

    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: Oct 10, 2017

  • The National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES 2016-2020) amounts to CFAF 15,478 billion (approximately $26.3 billion). Despite the unfavorable context (terrorist attacks, trade union demands, etc.), the 2016 annual review assessment has been positive.

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

    The World Bank has already 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. Moreover, credit agreements for a number of other development projects have been signed.

    The World Bank’s commitment to Burkina Faso

    After completing the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) of the economic and social situation in the country, the institution began to 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. That document will be presented to the Board of Directors of the World Bank by April 2018.

    It should align with the PNDES.

    The World Bank Group’s current portfolio in Burkina Faso includes 17 national projects (a commitment of more than $1.2 billion), 7 regional projects ($163.80 million), and 6 trust fund operations ($103 million).

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    IFC’s commitment 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:

    • 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: Oct 10, 2017

  • 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), which is currently being implemented, is already bearing fruit. 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.

    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 percent of whom are women. The income of approximately 66 percent of the beneficiaries increased by at least 50 percent. 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.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 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. has replaced the National Plan for Aid Effectiveness.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 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
179 Avenue du President Save Zerbo
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
For general information and inquiries
Lionel F. Yaro
Communications Associate
For project-related issues and complaints