Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso remains one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 183 out of 188 on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2015 Human Development Index. In 2015, more than 55 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line.

The average actual growth rate of Burkina Faso’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been approximately 5.4 percent per year over the last decade (2006-2015). The primary sector—particularly agriculture—which employs more than 80 percent of the labour force, makes up approximately 39 percent of the country’s GDP. It is vulnerable to climatic conditions, to a limited supply of water resources in the country’s Sahel region, and to fluctuations in global food and petroleum product markets. Revenues from gold exports have surpassed those from cotton exports since 2009. In 2015, gold accounted for approximately 61.7 percent of exports of Burkina Faso, and cotton for 13.1 percent. The service sector is not strong enough to develop an inclusive economy, and the processing sector, which could potentially stimulate the economy, accounts for only 25 percent of GDP.

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 2015, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in adults aged 15 to 49 was 0.8 percent.

From 1987 to 2014, the political landscape of Burkina Faso was dominated by President Blaise Compaoré. In 2014, a significant popular uprising led to his resignation and a transitional government was appointed with a mandate to organize presidential and legislative elections. Despite an attempted coup that failed in September 2015, elections were held in November 2015, after which Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was elected President in the first round. His political party, the “Mouvement du peuple pour le progrès (MPP)”, achieved the highest results in the legislative elections, with 55 members elected out of a total of 127.

Some efforts in the area of good governance have been undertaken, including the adoption of legislative frameworks and ratification in 2006 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Despite this, Burkina Faso ranks 76th out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s 2015 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 their National Economic and Social Development Plan 2016-2020, which focuses on three main objectives:

  • Institutional reform and modernization of the administration;
  • Development of human capital (including in health and education); and,
  • Stimulating promising sectors for the economy and employment.

Projects supported by Canada in Burkina Faso are aligned with these areas and aim to reduce poverty. To achieve this, Canada focuses its support on two priority themes: securing the future of children and youth, and stimulating sustainable economic growth. Governance, the environment and gender equality are cross-cutting themes in all of Canada’s interventions in Burkina Faso.

Global Affairs Canada delivers its assistance in Burkina Faso through several programs and channels covering a wide range of sectors, including governance, health and agriculture. Other federal institutions, including the Department of Finance and the International Development Research Centre, also contribute to Canada’s development efforts in Burkina Faso.

Children and youth

The country has a high proportion of children and youth, with approximately seven million people under the age of 14. This segment of the population is particularly 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.

For over fifteen years, Canada has been supporting the Government of Burkina Faso’s initiatives in the education sector. Since 2012, Canada has supported the Government of Burkina Faso’s ten year plan for the development of the basic education sector (2012–2021). This plan aims to improve educational services, make them more accessible, and to develop a skills for employment training program for youth.

Canada supports other projects in the area of children and youth. Canada finances a project to strengthen the capacity of professionals to ensure the protection of children in the justice system, police stations and community centers. 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

  • Children and youth between the ages of 6 and 16 will benefit from increased access to education, and the capacity of officials and teachers of the Ministry of National Education and Literacy will be strengthened to improve the quality of learning;
  • Service delivery in basic education will be of better quality, ensuring parity between girls and boys at the primary and post-primary levels; and
  • 22,500, police officers, judges and social workers will be better equipped and trained to protect children in Burkina Faso by 2020.

Economic growth

The Government of Canada continues its support to the development of the agri-food sector and skills for employment in Burkina Faso by focusing the economic empowerment of women and youth and their integration into the job market.

Key anticipated results

  • Approximately 5,000 women members of rice processing unions in Burkina Faso will have increased their incomes by meeting local demand for parboiled rice;
  • The national union of women rice processors and other unions involved in rice processing in Burkina Faso have improved their governance and involvement in the rice supply chain;
  • Youth in Burkina Faso will have access to adequate prevocational training aligned with market needs, providing employment or self-employment opportunities.

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 in education and microfinance.


Key achievements (2015-2016)

Children and youth

  • The primary school gross enrolment rate has increased from 81% in 2012 to approximately 83% in 2014.
  • The number of classrooms at the primary level has increased by 34,900 in 2009 to over 52,000 in 2013, an increase of 49%.
  • The primary school completion rate saw an increase from 45.9% (42.5% for girls) in 2009 to 59.5% (59.7% for girls) in 2013.

Sustainable economic growth

  • In 2015-2016, nearly 700 women rice processors have developed better parboiling techniques, which has improved the quality of the rice produced.
  • Two women rice processing unions have increased their access to financial services, to the benefit of their members and thus contributing to empower women rice processors.

Health and rights of women and children

By working with Canadian and international partners, Canada is working to improve the health and rights of women and children globally, which includes the country of Burkina Faso.

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

Global Affairs Canada22.94
Other departments and sources0.69