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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

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Key Facts

  • Capital: Ouagadougou
  • Region: West Africa
  • Official language: French
  • Independence Day: August 05, 1960
  • Area: 274,000 sq km
  • Population (2018): 19.8 million
  • REC membership: ECOWAS, CEN-SAD, WAEMU
  • WTO membership: June 3, 1995
  • GDP (2018): US$ 14.125 billion
  • GNI Per Capita (2018): US$ 670
  • Currency: West African CFA franc

Economic overview

Real GDP growth is estimated at 6% for 2019 (6.8% in 2018), driven primarily by dynamic secondary sector (8.3% growth) and services (6.6%), as well as by sustained growth in private consumption (7.5%) and public consumption (6%).

The inflation rate, estimated at 0.3% in 2019, is projected to rise to 1.6% in 2020 and 2% in 2021. The fiscal deficit was reduced from 7.8% of GDP in 2017 to 3% in 2019, thanks mainly to a reduction in investment from the government’s own resources, which seems to be the key adjustment variable. This investment fell from 11.6% of GDP in 2017 to 7% in 2019. Additional revenue generated by telecom licensing (about 1.4% of GDP) could mitigate the fall in public investment.

Tax revenues improved from 16.7% of GDP in 2018 to 17.8% in 2019. The current account deficit deteriorated slightly from 5.8% of GDP in 2018 to 6.3% in 2019. The IMF’s debt sustainability analysis concluded in 2018 that Burkina Faso continues to present a moderate risk of debt distress. The debt ratio is estimated at 42.5% of GDP for 2019 (the WAEMU limit is 70%), with external debt the largest component (23.1%).

GDP is projected to grow by around 6% in 2020 and 6.1% in 2021. Despite the very challenging security situation, the authorities do have options – improving agricultural returns and implementing strategic investments in energy and infrastructure. They initiated action in the agricultural sector with the irrigation of 25,000 hectares planned in 2019-20, provision of 150,000 animal traction units to producers, and construction of a tractor and tiller assembly unit. To promote access to agricultural production areas, the proportion of upgraded rural roads is projected to increase from 32.6% in 2018 to 43% in 2020.

On the energy front, the construction of new solar power plants is expected to supply 155MW of electricity. Gold production is expected to reach 55.3 tons in 2020 (52.9 tons in 2019). The security situation, which affects the main mining and agricultural regions, is likely to have a severe impact on the country’s economy. Total budget allocations to the security and defense sector increased by 34% between 2018 and 2019 to 3.9% of GDP in 2019.

Moreover, the increase in public spending to address the security challenge and the continued high wage bill (projected to be 9.5% of GDP in 2020) will weigh on the country’s growth outlook. The poverty rate in 2014 was 47.5% in rural areas and 40.1% at the national level. Humanitarian problems related to population displacement indicate that poverty has risen in the Sahel and the North, regions affected by the insecurity. 

Last updated: April 2020