Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Burkina Faso

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Burkina Faso is not a regional financial center. Its economy is primarily cash-based, and most economic activity takes place in the informal sector. Only an estimated 13 percent of the population had bank accounts as of 2012. Burkina Faso lacks the resources necessary to monitor adequately the movement of goods and people across its porous borders. Narcotics trafficking, smuggling, contraband sales, and black market currency transfers occur within the country. Corruption, a lack of resources, and overburdened and weak judicial and law enforcement systems are major challenges to the government’s ability to counter these activities. Burkina Faso continues to struggle with corruption in its customs service and, to a lesser degree, in the National Police, increasing the country’s vulnerability to smuggling and money laundering.

Following the abrupt resignation of former President Blaise Compaore in October 2014 due to a popular uprising, the country is under a transitional government until elections are held, likely in November 2015, and this could hamper administrative and judicial functions. It could also increase the country’s susceptibility to illicit activities including smuggling and money laundering.

While there is no significant domestic market for illicit or smuggled goods in Burkina Faso, there is evidence that goods have been smuggled across the country’s borders and through the airport in Ouagadougou, specifically narcotics, cigarettes, and endangered animal species. Those involved in smuggling are generally not producers, organizers, or financiers; they are generally low-level couriers serving criminal and trafficking networks based in neighboring countries.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at:

Do FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONs engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: NO

criminalizATION OF money laundering:

“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes

Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: NO

KYC covered entities: The Public Treasury, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), banks and microfinance organizations, exchange bureaus, independent legal professionals, auditors, real estate agents, funds transporters, owners of casinos and lotteries, travel agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and agents selling high-value goods and precious metals


Number of STRs received and time frame: 52: January 1 - November 19, 2014

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 0 in 2014

STR covered entities: The Public Treasury, BCEAO, banks and microfinance organizations, exchange bureaus, independent legal professionals, auditors, real estate agents, funds transporters, owners of casinos and lotteries, travel agencies, NGOs, and agents selling high-value goods and precious metals

money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:

Prosecutions: 4: January 1, 2014 - November 19, 2014

Convictions: 0 in 2014

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: YES

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Burkina Faso is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at:

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

The Government of Burkina Faso has a three-year strategy, from 2014-2016, for fighting financial crime, but much of this strategy has not yet been implemented. One aspect, a strengthening of financial disclosure requirements for government officials, has been included in the charter for the transitional government that was adopted November 16, 2014. Until recently, high-ranking government officials have been required to file financial disclosure forms with the Constitutional Council on entering and leaving office. Under the new requirements, the disclosure of the President will be published in the Official Journal, and the Court of Auditors will be able to investigate the assets of high level government officials.

In May 2014, the government adopted a decree to regulate and track the proceeds of coin-operated slot machines, which had previously not been regulated. Also in 2014, the government put in place a committee on administrative asset freezing. It has not yet used its powers to freeze assets in any particular case.

Burkina Faso’s financial intelligence unit (FIU) is the National Financial Information Processing Unit (CENTIF). CENTIF reports there are 14 individuals currently being prosecuted for money laundering or other financial crimes, with four new cases in 2014. It can take years for criminal cases in Burkina Faso to reach a conclusion, and there were no convictions in 2013 or 2014.

Burkina Faso remains at risk of money laundering and faces threats emanating from predicate criminal activities and insecurity in the Sahel region. Its capacity to respond to these threats remains insufficient, although the Government of Burkina Faso continues to cooperate with regional and global counterterrorism efforts. Records exchange with countries outside of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is possible via bilateral agreement, and Burkina Faso’s CENTIF is open to exchanging information with counterpart FIUs on a reciprocal basis, which it has done in several cases.

Burkina Faso should move prosecutions of financial crimes through its court system,

demonstrate the effectiveness of its terrorist asset freezing regime, incorporate the WAEMU directives on money laundering and terrorist financing into its national law, adopt procedures for the declaration or disclosure of cross-border currency movements, and fully implement its national strategy to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, especially given the challenges inherent in the regional security environment. Furthermore, the Government of Burkina Faso should strengthen due diligence measures in the financial system, the supervision and monitoring of reporting entities, and international cooperation efforts.