Openness to Foreign Investment
The Government of Burkina Faso (GOBF) wishes to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and has recently had success primarily in the mining sector. The GOBF overhauled its investment code in 2004 with the hope that new FDI would boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and help diversify its economy, which is currently based heavily on subsistence agriculture and cotton production for world markets. To further encourage business and investment, GOBF created the Presidential Council for Investment in December 2008. It is an advisory body chaired by the head of state, and whose mission it is to make recommendations on the development and implementation of policies to stimulate investment and economic growth. The inaugural meeting of the Presidential Council was held November 5-6, 2009.
The government has extended the responsibilities of its newly developed Enterprise Registration Centers (Centres de Formalites des Entreprises) by simplifying registration formalities and eliminating obstacles to opening a business (such as eliminating the requirement to provide copies of any criminal records or leasing contracts).
This one-stop shop for company registration has cut registration time to 14 days and the number of procedures to 4. To further improve the business climate in Burkina Faso, the government is working with the World Bank to reduce the time required to meet all formalities in bankruptcy cases.
In May 2008, Burkina Faso launched the Centre for Facilitating Acts of Building (CEFAC) to improve the construction permitting process. The CEFAC has made it possible to obtain everything needed to begin construction from one place, in a shortened time and at reduced cost.
In the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Doing Business 2010 report, Burkina Faso now ranks 147 out 183 countries, up from 155 in 2009 and 164 in 2008; this dramatic improvement reflects the country's successful efforts to create an environment conducive to business growth.
The 2004 Investment Code demonstrates the government's interest in attracting FDI to create industries that produce export goods and provide training and jobs for its domestic workforce. The Code provides standardized guaranties to all legally established firms, whether foreign or domestic, operating in Burkina Faso. It contains six investment and operations preference schemes, which are equally applicable to all Greenfield investments, mergers, and acquisitions.
Burkina Faso's regulations governing the establishment of businesses include most forms of companies admissible under French business law, including: public corporations, limited liability companies, limited share partnerships, sole proprietorships, subsidiaries, and affiliates of foreign enterprises. With each scheme there is a corresponding set of related preferences, duty exceptions, corporate tax exemptions, and operation-related taxes.
According to the 2004 Investment Code, all personal and legal entities lawfully established in Burkina Faso, both local and foreign, are entitled to the following rights: fixed property, forest and industrial rights; concessions; administrative authorizations; access to permits; and participation in state contracts.
Burkina Faso also revised its mining code in 2004 to create a more favorable climate for the mining industry. This new code lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, eliminated preproduction taxes, and limited royalty fees to three percent.
Burkina Faso does not have a local stock exchange.
GOBF announcements for privatization bids are widely distributed, targeting both local and foreign investors. Bids are published in local papers, international magazines, mailed to different diplomatic missions, e-mailed to interested foreign investors, and published on the Internet on sites such as http://www.tradepoint.bf/ or http://www.dgmarket.com/. Foreign investors receive the same treatment and timetable as local investors in the bidding process. Bidding criteria, which are established and enforced by the newly established Autorite de Regulation des Marches Publics (ARMP) (Government Tenders Regulation Authority), are clear, and the process is transparent. Bid requirements are the same for all bidders. Established in July 2008, ARMP advocates free access to government tenders, equality in the bidding process and transparency of procedures.
There are no laws or regulations specifically authorizing private firms to adopt articles of incorporation or association, which limit or prohibit foreign investment, participation, or control.
Conversion and Transfer Policies
Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (WAEMU), whose currency is the CFA franc, or CFA. The CFA is freely convertible into Euros at a fixed rate of 655.957 CFA to 1 EURO. Investors should consider the advantages offered by the WAEMU, which allows CFA to be freely used between all member countries. WAEMU countries include: Senegal, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso'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. Such transfers are authorized in the original currency of the investment. Once the interested party presents the request for transfer, accompanied by all relevant bank documents, Burkinabe banks transfer the funds directly to the recipient banking institution. The GOBF is not expected in the foreseeable future to change its current remittance policy concerning purchasing foreign currency in order to repatriate profits or other earnings. Foreign exchange is readily available at all banks and most hotels in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second largest city and economic capital.
Expropriation and Compensation
The Burkinabe constitution guarantees basic property rights.
These rights cannot be infringed upon except in the case of public necessity, as defined by the government. This has rarely occurred. Until 2007, all land belonged to the government, but could be leased to interested parties. The government reserves the right to expropriate land at any time for public use. In instances where property is expropriated, the government must compensate the property holder in advance, except in the event of an emergency. In 2007, Burkina Faso drafted a national land reform policy that recognizes and protects the rights of all rural and urban stakeholders to land and natural resources; clarifies the institutional framework for conflict resolution at a local level; establishes a viable institutional framework for land management; as well as strengthens the general capacities of the government, local communities and civil society on land issues. A rural land management law, 034/2009/AN, was adopted on June 16, 2009 by the National Assembly and promulgated by President Compaore. The new law provides for equitable access to rural lands in order to promote agriculture productivity, manage natural resources, encourage investment and reduce poverty.
Over the last several years, Burkina Faso has not been involved in investment disputes with U.S. or any other foreign investors or contractors.
The Civil Code provides legal language that works to protect property and contractual rights. Government interference in the court system occurs less frequently in Burkina Faso than in most countries in Africa, and judgments from foreign courts are accepted and enforced by local courts. It should be noted, however, that the World Bank ranked Burkina Faso as 110th in the world for its ability to enforce contracts because fees, number of required procedures, and the amount of time needed to resolve disputes are all abnormally high.
Burkina Faso's 1995 Code of Commerce contains all applied commercial law used by the Burkinabe business community. In 2007, Burkina Faso opened the Arbitration and Commercial Dispute Resolution Center (Centre d'Arbitrage et de Reglement des Litiges Commerciaux) under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 2006, Burkina Faso introduced specialized commercial chambers in the general courts and lowered enforcement costs by cutting the related registration tax from 4 to 2 percent of the judgment amount. In December 2007, IFC, Doing Business Better in Burkina, and the government jointly held a workshop to discuss the efficiency of the Burkinabe judicial system in settling commercial disputes. Workshop attendees included judges, lawyers, university teachers, donors, and private sector representatives. The goal of the workshop was to raise the business community's confidence in the Burkinabe judicial system and its capacity to implement decisions relating to agreements and property, as well as to introduce the idea of specialized courts to deal with commercial matters.
Burkina Faso is a party to the Washington Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and recommends arbitration procedures in its investment code. Burkinabe courts accept international arbitration as a means for settling investment disputes between private parties. Longstanding disputes that remain unresolved after administrative jurisdictional hearings are required to be submitted to arbitration. Burkinabe courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.
In the event that an amicable settlement of a dispute between the government and an investor cannot be reached, the Investment Code requires that arbitration procedures be submitted to international arbitration under the rules outlined by the 1965 Convention of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). In cases where the enterprise of a national does not meet nationality conditions stipulated by article 25 of the Convention, the Code specifies that the dispute be resolved in accordance with the dispositions of the supplementary mechanisms approved by ICSID in September 1978.
All investment specific incentives are outlined in the 2004 Investment Code. Additionally, all companies that use at least 50 percent locally supplied raw materials are exempted from trading taxes and receive a 50 percent reduction in customs taxes in addition to the elimination of other duties. These companies are also eligible to waive excise duties on production equipment and spare parts.
The GOBF does not require investors to purchase materials from local sources or to export a certain percentage of output. Foreign investors’ access to foreign exchange is not limited to their level of exports. The GOBF does not impose "offset" requirements, which dictate that major procurements are approved only if the foreign supplier invests in Burkinabe manufacturing, R&D, or service facilities in areas related to the items being procured.
In 2007, Burkina Faso reduced property registration fees to 12.2 percent of the property value.
The government generally encourages companies to hire Burkinabe employees. But this is not a requirement; citizens of ECOWAS countries can legally work in Burkina Faso. Other nationalities can also legally work in Burkina Faso but require employment visas/permits.
Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
The rights of foreign and domestic private entities to establish and own enterprises, and engage in all forms of remunerative activities, are guaranteed by the constitution and the investment code. Businesses can be freely established and sold. Most public enterprises have enjoyed a monopoly in their markets. With the implementation of structural reforms, the government is liberalizing most of the monopolies. Foreign investors are encouraged to participate in the privatization of state-run enterprises.
Protection of Property Rights
In Burkina Faso, protection of property rights continues to be a challenge. According to the International Property Rights Index for 2009 Burkina Faso scores 4.6 points and is 71st in the world on international property rights issues overall. It ranks 8th in Africa. In comparison, Burkina Faso scored 5.1 points and was 59th in the world in 2008’s report. The government recognizes interests in property, both movable and fixed, and has adopted international, regional, and local laws that work to protect property. In practice, however, government enforcement of intellectual property law is lax. Despite government efforts, counterfeited goods can readily be found and purchased on the street in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
As a member of ECOWAS, Burkina Faso adheres to the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). This 1993 treaty created an intergovernmental organization to encourage foreign investment and economic development in the 16 member states that have ratified it. The treaty creates institutions that harmonize laws for contracts, businesses, securities, and bankruptcies; it also established a Common Court of Justice and Arbitrage based in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Since its inception it has adopted several uniform acts including an act relating to commercial law that entered into force in 1998.
Legal protection exists for intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and semiconductor chip design. The government of Burkina Faso has issued a number of decrees to protect other forms of property. These decrees include:
Decree No 2000-577 on the collection and remuneration for duplication of works set on graphic or similar supports; Decree No 2000-143 Creating the Bureau Burkinabe des Droits d'Auteur (BBDA); Decree No 2001-259 setting up and organizing the National Committee for the Fight against Piracy of Literacy and Artistic Works; Decision No 01-052 Price Fixing for Works Protected in Burkina Faso; Decision on the Collection of Remuneration for Private Copy; Decision No 01-053 on the Collection of Rights Payment; Decision No 01-50 on Stamping Disks, Audio and Video Cassettes that contain Literary and Artistic Works; Decision on Protection Modalities for Delivering Import Visas on Literacy, Artistic Works, and Bank Supports.
Burkina Faso has a legal system that protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of all property rights, including intellectual property. Burkina Faso is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO). The national investment code guarantees foreign investors the same rights and protection as Burkinabe enterprises for trademarks, patent rights, labels, copyrights, and licenses.
In 1999, the government ratified both the WIPO Copyrights Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). In 2002, Burkina Faso was one of 30 countries that put the WCT and WPPT treaties into force. The government has also issued several decrees and rules to implement the two treaties.
Transparency and Regulatory System
The government of Burkina Faso uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition. According to National Assembly Law No 15-94 prices of products, goods, and services must be established according to fair and sound competition. The government believes that cartels, the abuse of a position of superiority, restrictive practices, refusal to sell to consumers, discriminatory practices, unauthorized sales, and selling at a loss are practices that distort free competition.
The government is in the process of adopting more sophisticated and transparent laws that foster competition. Although some price controls have been lifted, the price of oil, essential generic drugs, tobacco, cotton, school supplies, water, electricity, and telecommunications are still regulated by the government.
The government does not use tax, labor, environmental, health and safety standards, or other laws and policies to impede entrance of foreign investors into the marketplace. However, Burkina's complex tax schedule is currently under review. In Burkina Faso, informal sector businesses and other small businesses with an annual turnover of CFA 15 million or less (thus roughly less than USD 29,000) pay a unique tax called the "contribution du secteur informel" or CSI. The maximum CSI tax is CFA 100,000 or roughly USD 194 per year. Businesses qualifying for CSI tax status are prohibited from bidding on state tenders.
Individual enterprises and companies in Burkina Faso with an annual turnover exceeding CFA 15 million (about USD 29,000) are subject to a complex set of taxes. These include an annual tax on industrial, commercial, agricultural profits (IBICA), set at 45 percent and a forfeit tax (IMPFIC), paid in advance each year. There is also a 25 percent tax on interest income (the IRC) and a 25 percent tax on investment income (the IRVM). Businesses must also pay an apprenticeship tax (TPA) on the salaries of all national and foreign employees (4 and 6 percent respectively), and a licensing tax, which has two components (a fixed amount based on gross revenues and an 8 percent tax based on the rental value of company buildings and the value of the production equipment). Upon incorporating, companies must pay a registration tax equal to 3 percent of the company's capital. Since 1993, businesses have been required to apply a 15 percent value-added tax to products.
Non-IBICA profits are taxed 5 to 35 percent. Private sector employees and civil servants pay a tax (IUTS) on salaries and tips, usually by payroll deduction.
Informal regulatory processes managed by non-governmental organizations or private sector associations are rarely found. Generally, an administrative committee comprised of experts, civil society, and various government officials reviews drafts of laws before the National Assembly adopts them or makes changes to existing laws.
Burkina Faso's legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms. It adheres to the West African Economic and Monetary Union's accounting system, (Systeme Comptable Ouest Africain or SYSCOA). Introduced in 1998, SYSCOA allows enterprises to use the same accounting system. SYSCOA complies with international norms in force and is a source of economic and financial data.
Efficient Capital Markets & Portfolio Investment
The traditional banking sector is composed of eleven commercial banks and three specialized credit institutions called, Etablissements Financiers. They include: the Banque Internationale pour le Commerce, l'Industrie et l'Agriculture du Burkina Faso (BICIA-B), the Banque Internationale du Burkina (BIB), the Societe Generale de Banques du Burkina (SGBB), the Banque Commerciale du Burkina (Arabo-Libyan), (BCB), the Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina (BACB), Ecobank, Bank of Africa, Banque Sahelo-Sahelienne pour l'Investissement et le Commerce (BSIC), Coris Banque International, and Banque Atlantique.
Competition from State Owned Enterprises
Private enterprises are allowed to compete with public enterprises with the same terms and conditions. The bidding process is considered to be open and fair.
SOEs or “strategic companies” are active in four primary areas: service providers, commercial enterprises, enterprises of a specific nature and social security. The primary SOEs are in the areas of: oil importing (SONABHY), water (ONEA), lottery (LONAB), mining (BUMIGEB), mail (SONAPOST), rail equipment (SOPAFER-B), electricity (SONABEL), and social security benefits (CNSS).
Each SOE has a board of directors that is appointed. Each SOE also has a parent ministry. For example, CNSS, the SOE concerned with social security benefits, is under Ministry of Labor. The most powerful SOE is SONABHY, petroleum importing, and the board is appointed by the President. Board members of the additional SOEs are primarily appointed by the Minister of the appropriate ministry. Every year, all of the SOEs meet to report to the Prime Minister. While this meeting is covered in the press and general numbers are publicly available, detailed SOE budgets are not.
Burkina Faso does not have a sovereign wealth fund.
Corporate Social Responsibility
There is a general awareness of corporate social responsibility among both producers and consumers. The GOBF requires the mining companies to invest in social infrastructure, such as building a health center or a school, and other projects to benefit the local populations in the areas of their mining operations. It is also required that mining companies take environmental impacts into consideration. A common practice for many companies is to provide “vivres”, or food supplies to their workers often at the end of the year. Typically this is rice or millet, something to augment their low income while providing sustenance. SOEs such as SONABHY and LONAB frequently undertake social projects. SONABHY recently built a school and LONABE is known for providing school supplies to school children and the beginning of the year. Telecommunications company Celtel (Zain) recently renovated a school that was damaged by the September 1, 2009 flooding and also supplies “vivres” to their workers.
Post is not aware that OECD’s CSR principles have been embraced but it is evident that CSR is viewed favorably by the population and that many corporations engage in socially responsible projects. These projects are covered in the local press.
Burkina Faso continues to undergo a peaceful democratization and decentralization process under the leadership of President Blaise Compaore, who has been in office since 1987 and part of the ruling group since 1984. The governing party, the CDP, claims populist ideals but calls for free enterprise on the economic front. Opposition to the CDP remains severely fragmented and weak.
Burkina's commercial viability is closely linked to the stability of its neighbors. The ports of Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) and Lome (Togo) serve as key shipping points for Burkina's imports/exports, with Lome growing in importance since the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire erupted in 2002. City ports like Cotonou (Benin) and Tema (Ghana) have also become increasingly important as alternative transshipment points for Burkinabe goods.
Although Burkina Faso means "land of the honest men", Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that corruption is still a problem. The main challenges the country currently faces are poor access to information, a weak judiciary, limited enforcement powers of anti-corruption institutions, misappropriation of public funds, and lack of an effective separation of powers. Civil servants who most commonly engage in corruption include: members of the police force and gendarmerie, customs officials, political groups, justice officials, healthcare workers, educators, tax collectors, and the media.
There are several anti-corruption groups, both governmental and non-governmental that monitor corruption in Burkina Faso. In 2001, the President established a National Ethics Committee whose main task is to "bring morality" to public life.
In November 2007 the government ratified legislation to create the Superior Authority of State Control (ASCE), an entity under the authority of the prime minister that merges the High Authority to Fight Against Corruption (HACLC), the State Inspector General, and the National Commission for the Fight Against Fraud. In addition to releasing annual reports from auditing entities, ASCE has the authority to prosecute ethics breaches in the public sector, including by state civil service employees, local and public authorities, state-owned companies, and all national organizations involved with public service missions. Despite this mandate, no action was taken during the year by the ASCE, which observers believed had insufficient power. In January 2008, the government established a new 11-member Gold Anti-fraud Squad (BNAF) and issued laws that allow BNAF to regulate gold marketing and curb fraud cases. In April 2008, the GOBF created the Autorite de Regulation des Marches Publics (ARMP), a regulatory oversight body to ensure transparency in the bidding process by monitoring the execution of all government contracts. The ARMP is vested with the authority to impose sanctions, initiate lawsuits, and publish the names of fraudulent or delinquent businesses. It will also educate communities benefiting from public investment monies to take a more active part in monitoring contractors.
Private Citizens have also established a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Reseau National de Lutte contre la Corruption (REN-LAC). This NGO looks broadly at the management of private and public sector entities. It publishes reports on the state of corruption in the country and has established a wide range of anti-corruption initiatives and tools. African Parliamentarians' Network against Corruption has a local chapter in Burkina Faso and cooperates with REN-LAC.
Burkina Faso has taken steps to fully adopt regional and international anti-corruption frameworks and the country ratifiedthe UN Convention Against Corruption in October 2006. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso has agreed to enforce a regional law against money laundering and has issued a national law against money laundering and financial crimes.
While the government has identified corruption as an obstacle to doing business, the World Bank ranked Burkina Faso as the fourth best Sub-Saharan African country in the area of corruption control, trailing only South Africa, Madagascar and Ghana. According to the 2009 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Burkina Faso has reduced its perceived levels of corruption in the public sector and improved its worldwide ranking from 105th in 2007, to 80th in 2008 and 79th in 2009. Its regional ranking within Sub-Saharan Africa is 8th, up from 9th in 2008.
Bilateral Investment Agreements
In 1961, Burkina Faso signed a cooperation treaty with France allowing funds to be transferred freely between the two countries. A trade, investment protection, and technical cooperation agreement was signed between Burkina Faso and Switzerland in 1969. This agreement provides for free transfer of corporate earnings, interests, dividends, etc., between the two countries. Burkina Faso has also signed and ratified investment promotion and mutual protection agreements with Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium, Guinea, Ghana, Benin, and is in the process of signing one with Italy.
The Burkinabe investment code provides the right to transfer capital and revenues secured by alien personal and legal entities, which invest in Burkina Faso in foreign currencies. Foreign investors have the right, subject to foreign exchange regulations, to transfer dividends, any returns on the capital invested, the liquidating or conclusion proceeds of assets, in the same currency used in the initial investment.
Burkina Faso has signed various multilateral investment agreements including provisions in the Lome Convention and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
OPIC and other investment insurance programs
Burkina Faso has not benefitted from any OPIC programs thus far. Burkina Faso is a member of MIGA.
The Burkinabe labor code is effectively enforced by a labor court. Unions are well organized and defend employee interests in industrial disputes. Workers know their rights and do not hesitate to seek redress of grievances. According to the World Bank, Burkina Faso ranked 57 out of 181 countries for the ease of hiring and firing workers in 2008.
The February 1, 1982 Commercial Sector Collective Agreement divides employees (laborers, craftsmen, and senior staff) into eight categories with minimum basic pay rates from 25,000 CFAF (about USD 50) per month. Conditions for the employment of workers by enterprises are provided in Decree no. 98 of February 15, 1967. An employer should ask job candidates for their job-seeker registration card issued by the Office of Employment and Promotion, which is part of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth.
It is the GOBF's policy to increase employment opportunities for Burkinabe workers. Therefore, in professions where there are too many registered and unemployed Burkinabe, a job-seeker card will not be issued to non-nationals. When non-nationals are hired, the Director of Labor authorizes their employment contract. According to a February 15, 1967 decree, statements must be made to the Regional Inspector of Work and Social Rules before the start up of any new enterprise.
In the event of a reduction in personnel, the labor code requires the employer to first dismiss employees with the least training and seniority. The employer must advise employees of termination at least 30 days in advance. Workers terminated in a general workforce reduction have re-employment priority over other applicants for a two-year period. Employees terminated for reasons other than theft or flagrant neglect of duty have the right to termination benefits. Burkinabe workers have a reputation as hardworking and dedicated employees. There is a scarcity of skilled workers, mainly in management, engineering and the electrical trades.
To promote local employment, the government has established three financing instruments targeted at firms interested in obtaining start-up monies. These instruments include the Fonds National d'Appui a la Promotion de l'Emploi" (Employment Promotion Support Fund) (FONAPE), the "Fonds d'Appui au Secteur Informel" (Informal Sector Support Fund) (FASI), and the "Fonds d'Appui aux Activits Generatrices de Revenus des Femmes (Women's Income Generating Activities Support Fund) (FAARF).
To date, Burkina Faso has approved and ratified a myriad of conventions issued by the International Labor Organization. These conventions include Freedom for Union and Protection of Rights to Union, Abolition of Hard Labor, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
While unskilled labor is abundantly available in Burkina Faso, skilled labor resources are limited. Construction, civil engineering, mining, and manufacturing industries employ the majority of the formal labor force.
Burkina Faso has undertaken reforms of labor policy in order to make to make the labor market more flexible and ensure social justice including workers' safety and health. In May 2008, the national Assembly adopted the new Labor Code to better protect workers. The Labor Code includes improved hiring conditions and social liberties, increased flexibility for labor agreements, limitations on damages and interest, redefinition of strike conditions, and retirement eligibility for all workers (including day laborers). Social security services include independent workers.
Foreign-Trade Zones/Free Ports
There are no foreign trade zones or free ports in Burkina Faso. The Burkinabe Investment Code prohibits discrimination against foreigners. American firms not registered in Burkina Faso can compete for contracts on projects financed by international sources such as the World Bank, U.N. organizations, or the African Development Bank.
Foreign Direct Investment in Burkina
French, Indian, Canadian, Belgian, and American investors have established greenfield firms and obtained enterprises through acquisition. The largest foreign investor in Burkina Faso is the French firm Bollore with several agencies in the country including SDV Bobo-Dioulasso, BLMS Ouagadougou, SNTB/SAGA Bobo-Dioulasso, SDV Ouagadougou, SITARAIL Ouagadougou and SNTB Burkina Faso. French investment accounts for more than 70 percent of all FDI.
In 2000, Telecel International and Mobile System International/Cellular Investments Holding BV invested about USD 19 million to operate mobile phone services in Burkina Faso. The Ivorian group Atlantique Telecom currently operates Telecel International.
In 2006, 51 percent of the shares of ONATEL telecommunications company were sold to Maroc Telecom for USD 315 million; another 20 percent of the shares have been floated on the regional stock exchange. Maroc Telecom plans to invest approximately USD 90 million annually in ONATEL.
In 2008, Celtel International, now known as Zain, sold 680,000 shares for $61.7 million to Burkinabe and others in order to increase its financial assets.
Cell phone use has increased by 63% from 1.9 million in 2007 to more than 3 million users in 2008.
In the mining sector, a Canadian company, High River Gold Mines
Ltd (HRG), with significant U.S. investment, through its local subsidiary SOMITA SA opened Burkina Faso's only commercial gold mine in October 2007. HRG's next project will be the Bissa gold mine in the north-central Burkinabe province of Bam. HRG will also process gold from nearby Bouroum. It is estimated that these two sites have combined reserves of approximately 8.8 million tons of ore, averaging 2.99 grams per ton, and an estimated gold production of 3.5 tons per year. IAMGOLD, a Canadian company, owns 90% of the Essakane mine and is on track to begin commercial production in August, 2010. IAMGOLD has a $422 million capital budget. The mine is anticipated to produce 315,000 onces a year with a mine life of 9 years. Burkina Mining Company (BMC), a subsidiary of the Canadian-owned Estrucan Resources Incorporated, opened the second commercial gold mine in 2008 in Zabre, Boulgou province. Total investment is approximately USD 71 million. The Canadian company, Semafo, inaugurated Burkina Faso's third gold mine in June, 2008 in Mana, in Bale Province, 270 km northwest of Ouagadougou. Total investment is estimated at $116 million. Burkina Faso expects these new gold mines to attract USD 260 million in new investments.
Burkina Faso announced three more sites slated for development in the next two years and it will soon welcome bids for the reopening of the Poura gold mine. Poura opened in the southern province of Mouhuon in the 1950's, but was forced to close in 1999 because of low gold prices. At its closure, it was estimated that this mine still contained 450,000 tons of ore at a grade of 12 grams of gold per ton.
Burkina Manganese, a company with significant U.S. investment, is constructing the Kiere mine. The Kiere mine has estimated reserves of at least 600,000 tons of manganese at grades of 44-45 percent.
During the 4th Burkina Mining Promotion days held from December 1st through 4, the Minister of Mines, Quarries and Energy, Abdoulaye Abdoulkader Cisse, told the participants that Burkina Faso is slowly and surely moving from a country with mining potential to a mining country. He stated that gold production rose from 753 kg in 2007 to 5.5 tons of metal gold in 2008. According to the projections of the Ministry, it will reach 12 tons this year. Two additional mines are coming into productoin: Inata in January and Essakane in March, with reserves estimated at 120 tons of gold metal. The ministry expects production to increase to over 20 tons of gold metal in 2011.
Major Belgian-owned firms include Belcot (Louis Dreyfus Belgique), and a cotton waste processing factory.
On February 2001, the Indian Consortium AKEDFD/IPS of the Aga Khan network took control of the local airline, Air Burkina, investing about USD 5.5 million to strengthen its air fleet. The group also took control of other state-owned companies including the parastatal sugar company, Sn-Sosuco, Sopal (the Alcohol Company), and Fasoplast, a company which produces packaging, bags, and other plastic products.
During the 1998 bidding process for CIMAT, a government parastatal that made and distributed cement, an Indian investor won the bid and acquired the company, paying nearly USD 13 million for the acquisition. This company currently operates in Burkina Faso under the name Diamond Cement.
In December 2007, 38 percent of shares of the most important bank, Banque Internationale du Burkina, were sold to the Nigeria's United Bank for Africa.
In July 30, 2009, the Burkinabe Societe Burkina Controle took control of the local vehicle control Center (CCVA), investing about USD 4.5 million.
There are only two wholly-owned American firms in Burkina Faso: AMERITEL, a telecommunications firm that sells transmission equipment and maintenance services, and TRADE, an English language service.
Foreign investment opportunities still exist in two big projects: the development of the Zone d'Activits Commerciales et Administratives (ZACA) (about USD 60 million), and the construction of a new international airport and free trade zone in Ouagadougou (about USD 218 million). The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC), however, in examining possible financing for the new international airport, has expressed concern that the GOBF may have overestimated future air traffic estimates.
The IFC's investment portfolio consists of an equity investment totaling USD 617,000 in the local affiliate of Ecobank, and a guaranty to a car/truck operator. IFC's strategy for Burkina Faso currently focuses on improving the investment climate, building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, micro enterprises and the institutions that support them. It also provides support to project development in the financial, tourism, and mining sectors. In 2005, it provided approximately USD 2.75 million for the renovation of the Hotel Independence in Ouagadougou in order to allow it to offer reasonably priced accommodations to business and other travelers. This renovation is currently underway.
Burkina Faso has been a Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency (MIGA) member since 1988. In 2005, MIGA issued guarantees totaling USD 38 million to Dagris for its investment in the Societe Cotonniere du Gourma (SOCOMA). This project supports the liberalization of the cotton sector.
Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
Since 2006, Taiwan has invested $5 million to build a factory for producing wine from locally grown sorghum. In December, 2009, the factory ceded back to the government of Burkina Faso and is considered a model of sustainable development.
In 2008, Burkina Faso had an estimated 8.6 percent of FDI stock and 7.8 percent of FDI inflows as a percentage of GDP. Its major FDI comes from the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency (MIGA). In fiscal year 2005, MIGA has issued $38.3 million in guarantees covering a 5.1 million equity investment and 12.3 million shareholder loan from Dveloppement Agro-Industries Sud S.A. (Dagris) of France to Societe Cotonniere du Gourma (SOCOMA) in Burkina Faso. The coverage also includes a 15.2 million loan guaranty from Dagris to Banque Internationale pour le Commerce, l'Industrie et l'Agriculture du Burkina for a loan of the same amount to SOCOMA. Coverage is against the risks of expropriation, war and civil disturbance, and breach of contract for a period of up to 15 years for the equity, and up to eight years for the shareholder loans and loan guaranty. In fiscal year 2006, MIGA granted $6.1 million to Agro-Industries Sud SA (Dagris) of France to support the acquisition of cotton assets of the former Societe des
Fibres Textiles (SOFITEX), in the eastern region of the country, the modernization and expansion of the cotton ginning capacity in eastern Burkina Faso, and the promotion of local entrepreneurship through the financing of the acquisition of shares by local cotton growers and Burkinabe investors. In fiscal year 2007, MIGA issued two guarantees totaling $2.86 million to Societe Malienne de Promotion Hoteliere of Mali to cover its equity investment in Societe Burkinabe de Promotion Hoteliere of Burkina Faso, as well as its loan guarantee to IFC. The guarantees are for a period of eight years against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, war, and civil unrest. In fiscal year 2008, MIGA issued a guarantee to cover an investment by Orezone Essakane Ltd. of the British Virgin Islands in the Essakane Gold Project in Burkina Faso. Orezone Essakane Ltd. is owned by Orezone Resources Inc. (Canada). The investor applied for a MIGA guarantee of approximately $190 million for a period of up to 10 years against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, war, civil disturbance, and breach of contract.