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Results BriefsOctober 14, 2022

Tackling Interconnected Challenges in Burkina Faso through Coordinated Reforms to Protect People, Reduce Deforestation, and Strengthen Public Finances

Burkina Faso, Third Fiscal Management, Sustainable Growth, and Service Delivery Development Policy Financing

Smallholder farmers enjoy improved access to subsidized fertilizer and seeds through the nationwide scale-up of the electronic distribution system supported by IDA’s COVID-19 Crisis-Response Development Financing.

Photo credit: Dorte Verner, World Bank

With support from the International Development Association (IDA) Development Policy Financing (DPF) program, the Government of Burkina Faso instituted policy reforms between 2019 and 2021 to improve agricultural productivity and expand social protection. The reforms strengthened the resilience of farmers, herders, women, as well as all those disproportionately affected by shocks related to conflict, health, and climate change developments. Reforms to reduce deforestation aimed to help decrease desertification and foster biodiversity. Additionally, the Government improved its domestic revenue mobilization and enhanced public sector accountability. These reforms had the overall goal of benefitting the population more broadly, as additional resources became available for social programs.


Burkina Faso faces a range of interconnected development challenges. As of 2020, more than 50 percent of the population suffered from chronic food deficiency, exacerbated by climate change, desertification, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, highly contagious animal diseases threatened the health of livestock, adversely impacting herders’ incomes and exacerbating their vulnerability to other shocks. Social assistance spending was also fragmented and ineffective. Fiscal sustainability remained under continuous pressure.


To address this set of interlocking issues, IDA’s DPF program in Burkina Faso supported strengthened fiscal management, sustainable growth, and improved service delivery. In the wake of the country’s deteriorating security context,  policy reforms focused on building the state’s crisis-adaptive capacity, while also improving fiscal transparency and accountability. Both the DPF series and a complementary COVID-19 crisis response operation aligned with the country’s development objectives.  Strong analytical underpinnings helped inform the Government’s reform priorities, supporting the implementation of key reforms, and helping to enable sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies.

The key reforms supported by the DPF program included: (i) agricultural input distribution and animal vaccination reforms; (ii) environmental protection reforms; (iii) tax administration and wage bill reforms; (iv) government and debt management reforms; and (v) the creation of a national adaptive, pro-poor safety net system. The operation also used the World Bank’s convening power to generate cross-ministerial momentum for complex and multi-sectoral reforms (for example, to institutionalize a national adaptive, pro-poor safety net system in 2021, which required collaboration among six ministries).

The inputs that we have acquired are of very good quality; this will enable us to boost our agricultural productivity. The electronic input distribution system has also not left women out of the beneficiaries, and this is encouraging.
Adjara Soulama, farmer in the Lémouroudougou, Cascades region, Burkina Faso
Adjara Soulama
Farmer in the Lémouroudougou, Cascades region, Burkina Faso (Photo - Copyright: PReCA)
Thanks to the subsidy and electronic input distribution mechanism, we were able to acquire bags of fertilizer at an affordable price without major difficulty. With this support, we will be able to improve agricultural productivity in Bazon.
Burkina Faso: Pascal Zabre, farmer in Banzon, Haute-Bassins region
Pascal Zabre
Farmer in Banzon, Haute-Bassins region, Burkina Faso (Photo - Copyright: PReCA)
Burkina Faso: Women's role in agricultural value chains

Women's role in agricultural value chains

Photo credit: Dorte Verner, World Bank

Burkina Faso: Women, resilience, and social cohesion

Women, resilience, and social cohesion

Photo credit: Dorte Verner, World Bank


This reform program supported several key reforms by early 2022. These results support five objectives of Burkina Faso’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF).

  • Under the first objective, the DPF improved agricultural productivity as a result of reforms pertaining to input distribution and animal vaccinations.  Smallholder farmers gained better access to subsidized agricultural inputs. The share of seeds tracked through the electronic distribution system has increased from 23 percent in 2019 to 46 percent in 2021, and the share of fertilizer from 46 percent in 2019 to 75 percent in 2021.
  • Herder productivity has increased, with stronger resilience for livestock. The number of sheep and goats vaccinated against highly contagious diseases has increased from 0.6 million in 2017 to about 5.8 million in 2021.
  • Under the second objective, the sustainability of natural resources increased as a result of land reforms to counter deforestation. Sixteen forests were excluded from the mining cadaster to avoid their conversion to another land use, thereby reducing deforestation. Five classified forests were registered in the land cadaster to protect them against deforestation, thus avoiding greenhouse gas emissions of the equivalent of almost 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Under the third objective, the DPF expanded social protection to the most vulnerable. This was achieved through reforms to institutionalize a national adaptive, pro-poor safety net system. A social registry of households and people living in poverty was established in 2021, including data-sharing protocols for the effective use in social programs. In the future, the registry will help to make social assistance more effective by identifying and targeting the groups most in need of support.
  • Under the fourth objective, the DPF strengthened domestic resource mobilization and public expenditure management as a result of tax administration and wage bill reforms. The implementation of tax administration reforms, including e-filing and e-payment of taxes, led to an increase in the number of registered taxpayers from 95,500 in 2017 to 142,000 in 2021.
  • Public wage bill reform, including the rationalization of core jobs, mobility of existing staff across occupational and administrative units, and transparent recruitment requirements, led to a deceleration in the annual growth rate of the public wage bill from 11.4 percent in 2017 to 5.8 percent in 2021.
  • Under the fifth objective, the DPF enhanced public sector accountability as a result of governance and debt management reforms. The establishment of a dedicated governance framework for crisis funds led to a reduction in procurement contract lead time for medical supplies from 169 days in 2019 to 28 days in 2021. In addition, it reduced corruption through enhanced audit requirements and processes.
  • A new regulatory framework put in place with IDA technical assistance enabled the publication of high-quality, quarterly public debt bulletins. As a result, Burkina Faso has become a leader among IDA countries in terms of debt transparency. Indeed, it is the only country to reach full availability, completeness, and timeliness in all nine categories on the World Bank’s Debt Transparency Heat Map.

World Bank Group Contribution

Through IDA, the World Bank Group provided a total of US$350 million between 2019 and 2021 to finance policy and structural reforms in Burkina Faso. The World Bank also approved US$200 million in IDA financing in December 2021 to provide additional support for the implementation of reforms to strengthen fiscal management, improve natural resource management and livestock productivity, and enhance service delivery and social spending efficiency. Regarding Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which is part of the DPF reform program, the Government has worked closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provided technical assistance to support a new PPP law, which was subsequently passed in 2021.


Together with the United Nations, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the European Union (EU), the World Bank has completed a Prevention and Peace Building Assessment. This Assessment identified opportunities to promote peace and maintain social cohesion in Burkina Faso. The design of the DPF operations was also informed by this Assessment, as well as through regular consultations with other development partners, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the Danish International Development Agency. In addition, a grant of US$2 million provided by Swedish cooperation laid the groundwork for public-sector human resource reform under the recently approved DPF.

Looking Ahead

In an increasingly challenging context, the future DPF program will be critical to the support of a series of transformational reforms related to food security, social safety nets, environmental protection, governance, and fiscal management.