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  • Burkina Faso is a low-income Sahelian country with limited natural resources.  Its economy is largely based on agriculture, which employs close to 80% of the working population, although gold exports have increased in recent years. Despite the progress made in the past two decades, Burkina Faso faces many development challenges, particularly in terms of health and education. It ranks 144th among 157 countries in the new human capital index  established by the World Bank and 40.1% of the population lives below the national poverty line. Furthermore, insecurity linked to frequent terrorist attacks since 2016 has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

    Political Context

    Growing insecurity, particularly in the north, close to the border with Mali and Niger, has displaced many residents of Burkina Faso. In January 2019, fewer than 50,000 people were internally displaced, while in March 2020, this number stood at roughly 765,000.  At that time also, more than 2,000 schools were closed, a situation that deprived some 300,000 students of an education and impacted more than 11,000 teachers.

    In July 2017, the African Development Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank launched the Sahel Alliance with the aim of providing a coordinated and tailored response to the challenges faced by the G5 Sahel member countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Since then, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom have joined the Alliance.

    Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 2020. For the first time in the country’s history, citizens of Burkina Faso in the diaspora will be able to vote from abroad.

    Economic Overview

    • Despite the security and humanitarian crisis, the macroeconomic framework remained broadly stable in 2019. Although real GDP growth fell slightly, it remained fairly strong at 6%, compared to 6.8 % in 2018. Economic activity was led mainly by the services sector, the growth of which offset the decline in activity in the agricultural, mining, and construction sectors.
    • Inflation fell from 2% in 2018 to -3.2 % in 2019 owing to the combined effect of a good crop year, which led to a decline in food prices, and lower telecommunications costs.
    • The fiscal deficit improved in 2019 (-2.6%), thus falling below the 3% figure stipulated in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) convergence criteria, despite the increase in security expenditure, owing mainly to higher non-tax revenue (the sale of 3G licenses) and the decline in capital expenditure resulting from the slowdown in infrastructure projects.
    • Gross financing needs were covered mainly by budget assistance and the issuance of bonds on the domestic and regional markets. Overall, public debt is sustainable and Burkina Faso’s risk of global and external debt distress continues to be moderate.

    Medium-Term Projections 

    • Without taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has not yet been assessed, growth is projected to fall slightly to 5.8% in 2020, with this downward trend continuing owing to the security and humanitarian crisis. These projections will be impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, climate events, the worsening of the security and humanitarian crisis and, in the event of a global recession, the possible decline in cotton prices.
    • Inflation is expected to increase to over 2%, as security threats could reduce the food supply. However, it is projected to remain below the 3% limit set by WAEMU.
    • The current account deficit is projected to increase but to remain fairly well controlled and stable at roughly 4.5% of GDP during the 2020-2022 period. A trade surplus of approximately 1.5% of GDP on average is expected during the same period. Three main factors will contribute to this expected surplus: the increase in gold exports, the decline in oil imports, and the consolidation of the government budget, which is expected to contribute to lower demand for imports.

    Last Updated: May 04, 2020

  • The World Bank Group’s work in Burkina Faso is determined by a Country Partnership Framework that is reassessed every five years. This strategy, which is aligned with the objectives of the government’s economic and social development plan, is also based on a Systematic Country Diagnostic. The current framework (2018-2023) focuses on three objectives:

    • Developing human capital and social protection systems;
    • Accelerating economic growth and job creation through the promotion of the private sector in particular;
    • Strengthening governance and promoting citizen engagement.

    In March 2020, the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group institution that provides aid to the world’s poorest countries, was financing roughly 30 projects, 20 of which are national and 8, regional, representing a total commitment of $2.5 billion.

    To help Burkina Faso cope with fragility, conflict, and violence, IDA is providing it with additional concessional resources, the biggest amount being a $700 million allocation to support prevention and resilience efforts over the next three years.

    On April 30, 2020, the World Bank also approved $21.15 million in emergency financing from IDA— a 50% grant and 50% credit—to help Burkina with its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, is focusing on:

    • Assisting with efforts to improve the business climate and attract private investment;
    • Financing the development of small and medium enterprises, the agribusiness industry, infrastructure, energy, health, and the financial sector.

    Despite the security risks, IFC increased its annual commitments from $11 million to $135 million between FY2013 and FY2018.

    Last Updated: May 04, 2020

  • Water and Sanitation Sector

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

    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.

    Rural Development

    The Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project (PAPSA) has boosted the yields of small producers and expanded their access to financing. The project has directly benefited some 800,000 people, 32% of whom were women. In total, close to 11,000 hectares of land were developed for rice production, with 52% allocated to women. These investments helped boost national rice production by 10%. Maize and cowpea yields also increased by 49% and 50% respectively.

    Under this project, small-scale farmers were granted $2.3 million in loans.

    Last Updated: May 04, 2020

  • The World Bank Group works closely with the other development partners involved with Burkina Faso: the European Union, Agence française de développement, and the United Nations. 

    Last Updated: May 04, 2020



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
External Affairs Officer
For project-related issues and complaints