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Burkina Faso

Executive Summary

Burkina Faso welcomes foreign investment and actively seeks to attract foreign partners to aid in its development.  It has partially put in place the legal and regulatory framework necessary to ensure that foreign investors are treated fairly, including setting up a venue for commercial disputes and streamlining the issuance of permits and company registration requirements.  More progress is needed on diminishing the influence of state-owned firms in certain sectors and enforcing intellectual property protections. Burkina Faso scored 59.4 out of 100 in the 2019 Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index and ranked 78 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Index.

The gold mining industry has boomed in the last seven years, and the bulk of foreign investment is in the mining sector, mostly from Canadian firms.  Moroccan, French and UAE companies control local subsidiaries in the telecommunications industry, while foreign investors are also active in the agriculture and transport sectors.  In June 2015, a new mining code was approved with the intent to standardize contract terms and better regulate the sector, but the new code is not yet fully operational. In 2018, the parliament adopted a new investment code that offers many advantages to foreign investors. This code offers a range of tax breaks and incentives to lure foreign investors, including exemptions from value-added tax on certain equipment.  Effective tax rates as a result are lower than the regional average, though the tax system is complex and compliance can be burdensome. Opportunities for U.S. firms exist in the energy sector, where the government has an ambitious plan for the installation of new power capacity in both traditional and renewable sources.

Despite significant progress in building democratic institutions, the recent political and security environment in Burkina Faso has been marked by a series of terrorist attacks, especially in the northern and eastern regions, and the rise of self-defense groups comparable to militias in rural areas.  Most recently, in March 2018, the Army headquarters and the French Embassy in Ouagadougou were the targets of a terrorist attack. The government is still struggling to balance security concerns with its economic priorities, and will continue to face the twin challenges of too few resources and high public expectations.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 78 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview 
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 151 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2018 124 of 126 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2018 N/A http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
World Bank GNI per capita 2018 $731 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

In his policy statement delivered on February 18, 2019 at the National Assembly, the newly appointed Prime minister focused on the resolution of Burkina Faso’s economic difficulties.  He acknowledged the low productivity of the production sectors. He considered six measures to boost economic activity including improving the business and investment climate. He also stated that the government will strengthen the conduct of reforms, including those contained in the minimum matrix of business climate reform, in order to improve Burkina Faso’s Doing Business ranking and foster the development of the private sector.

The World Bank published the 2019 Doing Business Report (DB/2019), on November 1, 2018. This report announced a slight drop for Burkina Faso in its ranking for “ease of doing business for small and medium-sized businesses” as it slipped in ranking from 148th place out of 190 in 2018 to 151st in 2019.

The government of Burkina Faso adopted the National Program for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) with the aim to structurally transform the Burkinabè economy in order to generate strong, sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth and thus create decent jobs for all and improve social well-being.  The total amount of funding required for the implementation of the PNDES is CFAF 15,395.4 billion, or about USD 27 billion. Of this sum, it is expected that 63.8 percent (CFAF 9,825.2 billion or USD 17 billion) of the amount be mobilized by own resources, namely the mobilization of taxes. The other 36.2 percent (CFAF 5,570.2 billion or USD 10 billion) represents the need for funding from Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the mobilization of funds from the Burkinabe diaspora and technical and financial partners, and the voluntary contributions.

As of December 2018, According to PNDES Permanent Secretariat technicians, CFAF 3,884.5 billion of CFAF 9,825.2 billion (39.5 percent) was mobilized from internal resources.  Out of external resources, the amount of agreements signed amounts to CFAF 2,573.35 billion of CFAF 5,570.2 billion, or 46.2 percent. The main difficulties to internal revenue collection are related to security issues and strikes initiated by government workers.

Article 8 of the investment code stipulates there is to be no discrimination against US foreign investors.  However, in order for any foreign investor to benefit from the exemptions provided for by the investment code, they are required to submit a request to the General Directorate for the Promotion of the Private Sector.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Burkina Faso is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHCLA).  All the Uniform Acts enacted by this organization are applicable in the country. Regarding business structures, OHCLA allows 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.

From 1995 to 2018, Law 062-95, which was amended several times, governed investments in Burkina Faso.  However, in order to adapt this code to the new exigencies of the world economy and to respond to the fierce competition between states for attracting foreign investment, the National Assembly adopted a new Investment Code by Law 038 on October 30, 2018.  It replaces Law 062-95 of December 14, 1995, which presented several shortcomings, including the non-coverage of investments in renewable energies and hydraulics.

According to Article 5 of the Investment Code, certain sectors of activity may be subject to restrictions on foreign direct investment. Foreign companies wishing to invest in these sectors must follow a specific procedure specified by decree.  Burkina Faso has not established a procedure to scrutinize foreign direct investment. Under the 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 government procurement process.

The investment code establishes a special tax and customs regime for investment agreements signed by the state with large investors.  This scheme provides significant tax benefits.

U.S. investors are not specifically targeted regarding ownership or control mechanisms.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

There have been no recent investment policy reviews by the WTO or UNCTAD.  In July 2014, the organizations Réseau Africain de Journalistes pour l’Intégrité et la Transparence and the Natural Resource Governance Institute published a report entitled “Impact of Tax and Customs Regimes on the Mining Sector and on the EITI Reports in Burkina Faso.”

Business Facilitation

In March 2013, the GoBF created the Burkina Faso Investment Promotion Agency (API-BF).  The establishment of the Presidential Council fulfilled recommendations of a 2009 UNCTAD Investment Policy Review.  The website is www.investburkina.com  .

To simplify the registration process for companies wishing to establish a presence in Burkina Faso, the government has created eight enterprise registration centers called Centres de Formalités des Entreprises, known by their French acronym as CEFOREs.  The CEFOREs are one-stop shops for company registration. On average, a company can register its business in 9 days according to the Doing Business report 2019. The CEFOREs are located in Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya, Tenkodogo, Koudougou, Fada N’Gourma, Kaya, Dedougou and Gaoua.

In 2018, Burkina Faso strengthened protections for minority investors by enhancing access to shareholder actions and by increasing disclosure requirements on related-party transactions.  The 2019 Doing Business report ranked Burkina Faso 149th of 190 in minority investor protection.

Other sites of interest:

Chamber of Commerce business registration: http://cci.bf/?q=fr/creation-dentreprise  

Mining Chamber of Commerce: http://chambredesmines.bf/  

Investment Promotion Agency of Burkina Faso or l’Agence de Promotion des Investissements du Burkina Faso (API-BF): http://www.investburkina.com  

Tax and administrative procedures: https://burkinafaso.eregulations.org/  

World Bank Investing Across Borders: http://iab.worldbank.org/data/exploreeconomies/burkina-faso  

Among the 21 countries covered by the World Bank’s Investing across Sectors indicators in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, Burkina Faso is one of the more open economies to foreign equity ownership.  Most of its sectors are fully open to foreign capital participation, although the law requires companies providing mobile or wireless communication services to have at least one domestic shareholder.  Furthermore, the state automatically owns 10 percent of the shares of all companies active in the mining sector. The government is entitled to nominate one member of the board of directors for such companies.  Select additional strategic sectors are characterized by monopolistic market structures. In particular, the oil and gas sector, and the electricity transmission and distribution sectors.

Outward Investment

The Burkinabe Government tries to promote outward investment via the Investment Promotion Agency of Burkina Faso or L’Agence de Promotion des Investissements du Burkina Faso (API-BF), which sits under the Presidential Council for Investment (Conseil Presidentiel pour l’Investissement).  The API-BF’s mission is to promote the economic potential of Burkina Faso to attract investment and spur economic development.

Burkina Faso currently imposes no restrictions for investors interested in investing abroad, within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) regional markets.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2016 $10,886 2017 $12,323 www.worldbank.org/en/country   
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data  
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data  
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2017 21.9% UNCTAD data available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/World%20Investment%20Report/Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx  


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment From/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $2,869 100% Total Outward $74 100%
Canada $878 30% Cote d’Ivoire $19 26%
Barbados $594 21% Mali $19 26%
United Kingdom $387 13% Togo $15 20%
France $238 8% Benin $7 9%
Bermuda $183 6% Senegal $7 9%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Investment Climate Statements
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