Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with a mainly rural population, ranking 181 out of 187 on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2014 Human Development Index. In 2012, close to 45 percent of the population lived on less than US$1.25 per day.

The average actual growth rate of Burkina Faso’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been about five percent per year for a decade. The primary sector—particularly agriculture—which employs more than 80 percent of the labour force, contributes only 34 percent of GDP and remains vulnerable to climatic conditions, a limited supply of water resources in the country’s Sahel region, and fluctuations in global food and petroleum product markets. The service sector does not allow for the stimulation of an inclusive economy, and the processing sector, which could potentially generate added value, accounts for only 25 percent of GDP. Revenues from gold exports have surpassed those from cotton exports since 2009. In 2013, gold accounted for some 80 percent of exports, and cotton for 18 percent. According to the World Bank’s 2014 Doing Business index, which measures business regulations and their effective application in 189 countries, Burkina Faso occupies 154th place for ease of doing business.

Despite the country’s poor performance on most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), progress has been made in the areas of basic education, access to drinking water and combating HIV/AIDS. The primary school enrolment rate rose from 44.4 percent in 2000 to 84 percent in 2014. In 2013, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in adults aged 15 to 49 was 0.9 percent.

Since the adoption of a multi-party system in 1991, the political situation has been relatively stable. However, in October 2014, a popular uprising prevailed over former president Compaoré after 27 uninterrupted years in power. A transitional government was appointed with Lieutenant-Colonel Issac Zida as prime minister. Elections are planned for November 2015.

Efforts in the area of good governance include the progressive adoption of legislative frameworks and ratification in 2006 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. In 2003, Burkina Faso joined the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a mutually agreed-upon program adopted by the member states of the African Union to promote and reinforce high standards of governance. Even so, Burkina Faso is ranked 85th out of 175 countries on Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Burkina Faso.


In 2014, Burkina Faso was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

Canada's international development programming in Burkina Faso supports the Government of Burkina Faso's Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development 2011–2015 (PDF, 1.68 MB, 99 pages), which identifies four major challenges:

  • developing accelerated growth foundations;
  • reinforcing human capital and promoting social protection;
  • reinforcing good governance; and
  • integrating crosscutting priorities in development policies and programs.

The strategic direction of Canada's program in Burkina Faso is to help the country secure a future for children and youth, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

Children and youth

The country has a high proportion of children and youth, with some seven million Burkinabés under the age of 14. This segment of the population is especially vulnerable to violence and economic and sexual exploitation. Although Burkina Faso has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1992), the application of these treaties is hindered by factors such as the increasing poverty of most of the population, limited knowledge of the various legal texts and insufficient educational opportunities.

From 2001 to 2011, Canada supported the Burkinabé government's Ten-Year Basic Education Development Plan. Since 2012, Canada has supported the government’s new initiative called the ten-year plan for the development of the basic education sector 2011–2020 . This plan aims to improve educational services and make them more accessible and to develop a skills-for-employment training program for youth.

Canada also supports the implementation of Burkina Faso's national gender policy(PDF in French, 1 MB, 56 pages), which aims to make educational services more accessible to girls.

Key anticipated results

  • The percentage of girls and boys who finish primary school will increase from 40 percent to 75 percent by 2016.
  • The percentage of youth who finish post-primary education, including vocational training, will increase from 16 percent to 34 percent by 2016.

Economic growth

Canada continues to focus on improving microfinance and developing the agri-food sector by concentrating on the economic empowerment of women and young people, and their integration into the labour market.

Key anticipated results

  • Entrepreneurs and farmers use the financial services and products designed for them more frequently and more equitably.
  • Workers in the agri-food sector will increase their sustainable productivity.

Progress on aid effectiveness

Burkina Faso signed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) in 2005 and the Busan Partnership Agreement for effective development cooperation in 2011.

Based on the Busan agreement, Burkina Faso adopted a national action plan for development cooperation effectiveness (PANED) in 2014. One purpose of the plan is to strengthen the role of the private sector and civil society in the country’s development and build good governance, particularly by implementing anti-corruption measures and strengthening the decentralization process.

Burkina Faso is a model for best practices in public financial management in Africa, which is why 9 out of 10 of Burkina Faso's main donors provide it with general budgetary support. Canada is a member of the donor coordination group and plays a leadership role among donors in education and microfinance.



Achievements 2013-2014

Children and youth

  • Helped increase the percentage of children attending primary school from 81 percent in 2012 to about 84 percent in 2014.
  • Helped increase the number of primary school classrooms from 34,900 in 2009 to more than 52,000 in 2013—a 49-percent increase.
  • Helped to increase the successful completion rate at the primary level from 45.9 percent (42.5 percent girls) in 2009 to 59.5 percent (59.7 percent girls) in June 2013.

Sustainable economic development

  • Helped increase membership in the Réseau des caisses populaires du Burkina Faso from 673,100 to 923,100 (an increase of 37 percent), and helped increase its assets from $180 million to $356 million (an increase of 100 percent) between 2009 and the end of 2013.
  • Helped expand the geographic scope of the Réseau des caisses populaires du Burkina Faso by putting in place business financial centres and agricultural financial centres in three additional areas: Bobo-Dioulasso, Koupéla and Ouhigouya.

Although Canada does not have direct programming in MNCH in Burkina Faso Canada has improved the health of women and children by working with Canadian and global partners. See all maternal, newborn and child health projects in Burkina Faso.

Visit the Canada delivers results for the world’s women and children page for more information.

Map of international development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

Map of international development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Burkina Faso (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada22.94
Other departments and sources0.69