Investment Opportunities In Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union which ensures the stability of the CFA franc, the country’s legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms, The country is Africa’s leading cotton producer, Africa’s 5th largest producer and exporter of Gold, the country’s investment code guarantees foreign investors the right to the overseas transfer of any funds associated with an investment, including dividends, receipts from liquidation, assets, and salaries.

Top investment opportunities in Burkina Faso are:

  • Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Transport
  • Power
  • Telecommunications

Burkina Faso’s economy is hampered by its faulty infrastructure, including electrical infrastructure. Recently, the country alongside Mali and Ivory Coast launched joint special economic zones in the regions of Sikasso, Bobo Dioulasso, and Korhogo. Burkina Faso encourages investment by offering various tax and legal incentives. It established the framework of a public-private partnership and created a deposit institution that provides financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.

It's National Economic and Social Development Plan highlighted Agriculture majorly crop production and breeding, mining, real estate development, renewable energies including solar photovoltaics as some of the promising sectors for investment.

Investment Opportunities In Burkina Faso

The mining sector in Burkina Faso is still vastly untapped. Gold production has skyrocketed to record levels in the past few years. As the 4th largest gold producer in Africa, in 2012 at 30.2 tons, Burkina Faso is expected to produce more than 40 tons of gold in 2013. According to the Ministry of Finance, the country earned more than 250 million dollars from gold in 2012. The Bissa Gold Mine, operated by London-listed Nord Gold, opened at the beginning of 2013 and should further boost the export earnings.

Diamond prospects exist across the country but private investment is needed to properly assess and realize the potential. It is estimated that more than 80 million tons of copper reserves exist in the country. Other minerals, including zinc, uranium, and lead are also important in this opportunistic yet opaque mining sector. A recent mineral prospecting survey initiated by the government with the support of the World Bank should bring more transparency to the sector.



Burkina Faso’s industrial sector is also in need of major investment. Compaoré is pursuing a policy of privatization, withdrawing the State from the sector and promoting private investment. The government is working anxiously to improve the industrial sector with upgrades to transport infrastructure and subsidies for manufacturers. Compaoré’s government has also considered improved tax incentives for investors in the near term.



Burkina Faso does not have conditions favorable to large-scale agricultural production, but the sector still provides opportunities for import substitution. Cotton production has greatly improved through technical assistance, better transport infrastructure, and processing facilities. The sector still processes a meager 4 to 6 percent of Burkina’s cotton. If Burkina Faso is to decrease its trade deficit, it will have to improve local production and processing of other agricultural products such as rice and poultry. The government will likely have to partner with the private sector to achieve some of its agenda in this space.


Burkina Faso possesses a relatively well-developed transport network. Roads that link neighboring countries like Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Niger, are tarred and, according to those familiar with the ride, reasonably motorable. Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire jointly own Sitarail, a transnational railway that was one of the first in Africa to be awarded as a concession to the private sector in 1995. The railway links Abidjan via Bobo-Dioulasso and Ouagadougou. Rail projects between Burkina Faso and Niger and Burkina Faso and Ghana are near-term possibilities Air transport, via Ouagadougou international airport, to other major cities and international cities has greatly improved through the services of major international carries, such as Ethiopian Airlines, Air France, and Royal Air Morocco. Burkina Faso’s Minister of Transport Ibrahim Traore is hoping that greater efforts to combat bribe solicitation and expand air transport infrastructure will lower costs and boost trade.



Local power generation has improved but still has a long way to go. Construction of thermal power plants and the introduction of solar power plants, under legislation to promote Build Operate Transfer projects, provide additional opportunities to investors.
Demand increases at approximately 10 percent each year and current electrification is estimated at about 15 percent of the population. Recent estimates by the African Development Bank suggest that power production capacity could meet peak demand by 2018. However, rapid growth in the mining sector could make meeting demands difficult.



Telecommunication capabilities in Burkina Faso are limited by power issues. Mobile penetration, at approximately 50 percent to 55 percent, is still below the average for Africa while 1.5 percent of its population has access to the Internet. Despite the low numbers, the country is still experiencing aggressive growth. One mobile operator claims that subscriptions are growing north of 30 percent per year. According to a report by Deloitte and GSMA, a boost of 10 percent in mobile penetration in Burkina Faso could generate about 4.3 percent growth in GDP per capita.

Burkina Faso is located in West Africa. It is landlocked sharing borders with six countries which are Ivory Coast, Mali, Ghana, Togo, Niger, and Benin. It gained independence from France on 5 August 1960. Its capital is Ouagadougou and has 13 Administrative regions. It is a multiparty presidential republic with the President sitting as both the Head of State and government. It runs a unicameral national assembly as the legislative arm of the government. The official language is French but other popular local languages of the Sudanic family are common. Islam is the predominant religion along with other religions like Christianity and traditional religion. The legal system is modeled after French civil law and some customary law. It has an area size of 0.27 million square kilometers. Burkina Faso belongs to the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which requires the country to maintain a regulated tariff structure. Goods produced in the Union are exempt from import tax.

Burkina Faso has an estimated population of 20.84 million comprising mostly of younger population less than 25 years which makes up about 63.9 percent of the population, those in the age bracket of 25 to 64 years makeup up about 32.9 percent of the population and above 65 years age group makes up of about 3.2 percent of the population. The average population density is estimated at 74 inhabitants per square kilometer. In terms of human development indicators, it has a life expectancy of 64.5 years for women) and 60.9 years for men. It achieved universal primary education with a 96.1 percent Primary enrolment rate in 2018 and an overall literacy level of 41.2 percent as of 2018.

Burkina Faso’s economy is heavily reliant on natural resources and agriculture. Agriculture makes up almost 30 percent of the country’s GDP. It is Africa’s 4th largest producer of gold and Africa’s leading cotton producer. The Burkina Faso economy is resilient having survived a series of political instability following its independence. It has achieved robust GDP growth in the past 5 years and has grown 5.3 percent over the period. About 90 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, and cotton is the principal cash crop. Other cash crops are groundnuts, shea nuts, sesame, pearl millet, sorghum, maize, and rice. The country’s industrial sector is dominated by State-owned enterprises which contributed to 19.5 percent of GDP in 2018. Its currency is the CFA franc which is pegged to the euro and has maintained a stable inflation rate over the past years. Main exports include Cotton, Gold, and Livestock. Major imports include petroleum products, foodstuffs, and consumer goods.



According to the World Investment Report 2021 by the UNCTAD, FDI inflows into Burkina Faso declined slightly from 163 million dollars in 2019 to 149 million dollars in 2020. The total stock of FDI stood at 3 billion dollars in 2020. The mining sector attracts most of the investments and the exploration of new deposits has been increasing. The country's soils contain gold as well as zinc and manganese. The creation of three new growth centers, after the success of the Bagré Reservoir, is expected to spur new activities and attract investment. The main investing countries are Lebanon and France which are responsible for 70 percent of FDI in the country. Burkina Faso has been revising its mining code since 2015 and is now planning to introduce an oil code as the government is interested in exploring three areas that are potentially suitable for oil extraction. Two new mines became operational in 2017 which are Houndé and Netiana and the country is looking for a new partner that would take over-extraction activities in the Tambao deposit worth 1 billion dollars, currently the largest in the world reserve of manganese, with an estimated 55 million ton, which should bring in significant foreign investment.

Burkina Faso encourages FDI and offers tax and legal incentives, such as the possibility for a foreign company to own 100 percent of shares in a local company. However, investments in sectors such as mining, telecommunications, financial services, and electricity are subject to restrictions. The country's economy is favorable to trade, and the condition of its infrastructure is considered satisfactory. However, its lack of access to the sea and agricultural resources, as well as the weakness of its industrial sector, constitute major hindrances to investments. The business climate is still poor compared to international standards. In World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Report, the country has been ranked 151st worldwide, for the ease of doing business. The country remained at this same ranking from the 2019 edition. While improving access to credit information, the country needs to work on access to electricity, protecting minority investors, resolving insolvency issues, and strengthening contracts.

The economy of Burkina Faso is mainly based on agriculture as it contributes almost 30 percent of GDP; however, it is Africa's 4th largest producer of gold. In recent years, the country experienced strong economic growth, driven by gold and cotton production. After a slow growth in 2020 due to the Coronavirus crisis, the economy will record a surge in growth of 4.3 percent in 2021 and will reach 5.2 percent by 2022. This growth will be driven by private consumption and the good performance of the agriculture sector.

According to the World Bank, around 40 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line of 1.25 dollars a day.


Main Sectors Of Burkina Faso Economy:

The agricultural sector accounted for an estimated 30 percent of Burkina Faso’s GDP in 2019. About 26 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence farming and cotton is the main cash crop. Other cash crops are groundnuts, shea nuts, and sesame. Staple crops are pearl millet, sorghum, maize, and rice.

The industrial sector is dominated by State-owned corporations and contributed to 25.6 percent of GDP in 2019. It employs 25 percent of the total workforce of the country. Gold accounts for around three-quarters of the country’s total export revenues, thus making Burkina Faso really sensitive to the fluctuations in the price of this commodity.

The services sector accounted for 44.5 percent of the GDP in 2019 and employed 49 percent of the total workforce almost 30 percent of these jobs were generated in the financial system. The very dense banking sector, with the three largest banks holding almost 60 percent of total financial sector assets, is one of the economy’s pillars.





Burkina Faso's economy is heavily reliant on natural resources and agriculture. It is Africa's 4th largest producer of gold and Africa's leading cotton producer. Its lack of access to the sea and agricultural resources, as well as its industrial sector pose major hindrances to investments.



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