Burkina Faso Economy Facts

Economical overview

Cultivation and livestock care for housing needs form the backbone of poor Burkina Faso’s economy and employ the vast majority of Burkinis. Gold was awarded in 2009 on cotton as Burkina Faso’s most important export product. The industrial sector in general is small and undeveloped. However, cotton production is still very important and employs around three million people.

The country’s dependence on external aid and loans has long been considerable. The largest donors are the EU, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and Islamic and Arab institutions. Among individual countries, the United States and France are the most important donors. An important source of income is also the money that foreign-working Burkinians send to their home country (see also Population and languages).

  • Countryaah.com: Major imports by Burkina Faso, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.

Poverty means that the state has a hard time collecting taxes from citizens. The state budget is therefore drawn with large deficits. In recent years, this has only partly been offset by the taxation of gold mining companies.

Burkina Faso has also received financial support programs through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. During the 1990s, they demanded market liberal reforms, such as freer trade and the sale of state-owned companies. Growth increased at the end of the decade and in the early 2000s the country was allowed to participate in the debt-relief program for high-indebted poor countries (HIPC). The money would be used for school, healthcare and poverty reduction. In 2006, Burkina Faso received further debt write-offs, and that year the external debt was at a record low level. Subsequently, new loans have gradually increased the external debt. In 2014, foreign debt accounted for 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including BFA which represents the country of Burkina Faso. Check findjobdescriptions to learn more about Burkina Faso.

After a shaky 1990s, GDP growth in 2002-2006 averaged nearly 6 percent per year, thanks to a combination of good harvests, foreign aid and good financial management. In 2007 several new gold mines were opened, and thanks to high gold prices, Burkina Faso managed the global economic crisis in 2008-2009 relatively well. The following year, GDP growth reached a peak of over 8 percent.

Despite relatively good economic development with high growth at the national level during the first half of the 2010s, the country’s many poor residents hardly notice any standard increase. One reason for this is Burkina Faso’s high Population growth, another reason is price increases for food and fuel. The latter led to a series of protest actions from 2011, which prompted the government to implement tax cuts and promise price cuts. As a result, the deficits in the state budget increased. The protests against the high cost of living contributed to the fall of the Compaoré government in the fall of 2014 (see Current policy).

A quick transition to an interim government that year, and a democratically elected president the following year, meant that sanctions from the outside world could be avoided and international lenders did not freeze their payments. Despite low gold prices and an outbreak of virus disease Ebola in the region in 2014, the Burkina economy showed good growth. The main obstacles to a more comprehensive economic development, which also improves the living conditions of the majority, are poor infrastructure, unfavorable climate for cultivation (high risk of drought) and lean soil.

Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which includes several countries in the region. The UEMOA countries have a single currency, the West African CFA franc, which, through a special arrangement with France, is linked to the EU currency euro. The countries also have a common central bank. The UEMOA states strive to form an economic union.


GDP per person

US $ 731 (2018)

Total GDP

US $ 14,442 million (2018)

GDP growth

6.5 percent (2018)

Agriculture’s share of GDP

28.6 percent (2018)

Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP

5.2 percent (2018)

The service sector’s share of GDP

43.2 percent (2018)


1.1 percent (2019)

Government debt’s share of GDP

42.9 percent (2018)

External debt

US $ 3,119 million (2017)


West African Franc

Merchandise exports

US $ 3,242 million (2017)


US $ 3,248 million (2017)

Current account

– US $ 894 million (2017)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

52 percent (2018)

Main export goods

gold, cotton, shean nuts

Largest trading partner

Ivory Coast, France, China



General strike against poorer living conditions

Private and public employees strike in protest against rising living costs, poor wages and widespread corruption. The dissatisfaction also triggers violent clamor.


Burkinier protests against high food prices and low wages

Protest demonstrations are being held in several parts of the country against rapidly rising food prices and increased living costs as well as demands for higher wages.

Burkina Faso Economy Facts

You may also like...