• 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%, 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

    The capital, Ouagadougou, was hit by a third terrorist attack on March 2, 2018, which claimed the lives of eight Burkinabè soldiers. These attacks are occurring in an increasingly difficult security context for the entire subregion in general, and Burkina Faso in particular. The extremist group Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin led by Iyad Ag Ghaly claimed responsibility for the attacks. Two previous attacks had plunged the capital city into mourning in January 2016 and August 2017.

    Economic overview

    Growth picked up and is expected to reach 6.4% of GDP in 2017, owing to the expansion of the gold mining sector and increased investments in infrastructure.

    However, public finances have deteriorated significantly.

    Higher tax revenues have not been sufficient to offset increases in the wage bill, current transfers, and public investments. The fiscal deficit, which stood at 3.4% in 2016, widened considerably in 2017 to an estimated 8.2% of GDP, the highest rate recorded in Burkina Faso over the past decade. To offset this increase in budgetary expenditure, the Government combined concessional aid and borrowing on the regional market.

    The Government should continue its efforts to boost revenues, which continue to lag behind those of the top performers in the region. The Government should also enhance the effectiveness of its investment program by selecting and executing the most important programs, while controlling the fiscal risks associated with public-private partnerships.

    The economic outlook remains favorable in the short and medium term, with GDP growth projected to stabilize around 6% over the period 2018-2020. This growth would be supported by the agricultural, services, and mining sectors and ongoing public investment (all against the backdrop of a stable political environment).

    The external 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 fiscal deficit (including subsidies) is forecast to narrow to 5% of GDP in 2018 and converge in 2019 to the 3% target of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

    Medium-term outlook

    Burkina Faso is vulnerable to major internal and external risks. On the external front, risks pertain to the volatility of oil import prices and gold and cotton prices. Domestically, the threat of terrorism and civil unrest could have an impact on the mining sector, tourism, and government revenue.

    Human development

    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 330 per 100,000 live births in 2016, while use of contraceptive methods 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 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 was 58.6 years (2014).

    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).

    Between 2005 and 2016, the gross preschool enrollment rate increased from 2% to 3.5%, while the primary enrollment rate rose from 57% to 88.5%. Access to secondary education also improved, increasing from 20% in 2005 to 49% in lower secondary schools in 2016-2017 and from 5.6% to 16.2% in upper secondary schools in the same period. However, the youth literacy rate, which stood at 28.7% in 2010, remains lower than the average rate of 71% for Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Only 35.4% of pupils complete primary school with the required level of competence in mathematics and reading, compared to 16.2% for lower secondary schools and 11.2% for upper secondary schools.

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

    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 17, 2018

  • 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 signed several financing agreements for key sectors for fiscal year 2018, including the $75 million budget support operation for reforms in the energy and public finance sectors.

    The World Bank’s commitment to Burkina Faso

    After completing a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) of the economic and social situation in the country, the World Bank Group organized consultations with all of the country’s development stakeholders (representatives from civil society, the private sector, the Government, and donors), with a view to identifying the priorities of its upcoming partnership framework with Burkina Faso for the period 2017-2022. This new framework, which is aligned with Burkina Faso’s development plan (PNDES), will be presented to the Board of Directors of the World Bank by June 2018.

    The World Bank Group currently finances 22 national projects (a commitment of more than $1.5 billion), 7 regional projects ($148.80 million), and 6 trust fund operations ($76.4 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:

    • Advisory support 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 17, 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), 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% 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.

    Last Updated: May 17, 2018

  • 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 17, 2018



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 Officer
For project-related issues and complaints