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 56.7, a 2.7 points decrease for fiscal health, in the 2020 Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index and ranked 85 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2019 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.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country and the world’s seventh poorest country according to the 2019 UN Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index, ranked at 182 out of 189 countries. With a population of 20.28 million inhabitants in June 2019, an estimated 44 percent live under the poverty line. Some 80 percent of the country’s population is engaged in agriculture—mostly subsistence—with only a small fraction directly involved in agribusiness. There is a significant foreign investment interest in the growing security sector, and since Burkina Faso broke off relations with Taiwan in May 2018, a growing number of Chinese development projects. The government remains committed to a market-based economy without the establishment of any barriers to trade. Between 2006 and 2015, the national power utility’s (Société Nationale de l’Eléctricité du Burkina) customer base and consumption doubled; however, supply can only meet the demand in non-peak periods. The GoBF has set an ambitious goal of increasing the access rate to 40 percent by 2020. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors, on June 17, approved the second compact for Burkina Faso to focus on addressing the primary constraint to economic growth: the high cost, poor quality, and low access to electricity. The compact aims to improve energy infrastructure, generation capacity, and source diversification—it will also support Burkina Faso’s increased participation in regional power markets and development of a potential MCC regional investment.
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 Christophe Dabire focused on the resolution of Burkina Faso’s economic difficulties and offered six measures to boost economic activity and improve the business and investment climate. He also promised that the government would strengthen 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’s 2019 Doing Business Report (DB/2019) announced a slight drop for Burkina Faso in its ranking for “ease of doing business for small and medium-sized businesses” 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 Burkinabe 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 Burkina’s 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 voluntary contributions.
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 to attract 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 had 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 (between 100,000,000 FCFA and 1,000,000,000 FCFA). This scheme provides significant tax benefits. U.S. investors are not specifically targeted regarding ownership or control mechanisms.
Other Investment Policy Reviews
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 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 nine 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.
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.
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.
2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties
Burkina Faso is a member of ECOWAS. In August 2014, the United-States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with ECOWAS during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington.
In 2002, the United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the WAEMU. This agreement establishes a forum for discussion of trade and investment matters between the United States, the WAEMU Commission, and the eight member states of WAEMU. Outside of these regional accords, Burkina Faso has no investment agreement with the United States.
Burkina Faso has investment cooperation agreements with France and Switzerland, providing free transfer of corporate earnings, interests, dividends, etc., between the two countries. Burkina Faso has signed and ratified investment promotion and mutual protection agreements with Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, Guinea, Ghana, Benin, Comoros, South Korea, Mauritania, Morocco, Taiwan and Tunisia. Burkina Faso signed, but did not ratify, bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with Chad, and Singapore. There are BIT revision or negotiation processes going on with France, Italy, Mauritius, Turkish, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. Burkina Faso has signed various multilateral investment agreements including provisions in the Lomé Convention and the WAEMU Treaty.
3. Legal Regime
Transparency of the Regulatory System
The government of Burkina Faso aims for transparency in law and policy to foster competition. By law, prices of goods and services must be established according to fair and sound competition. The government believes that cartels, the abuse of dominant position, restrictive practices, refusal to sell to consumers, discriminatory practices, unauthorized sales, and selling at a loss are practices that distort free competition.
At the same time, the price of some staple goods and services are still regulated by the government, including fuel, essential generic drugs, tobacco, cotton, school supplies, water, electricity, and telecommunications.
There are regulatory authorities for government procurement, for electronic communication and posts, for electricity, and for quality standards.
Provinces and municipalities have the power to regulate in their jurisdiction, but that regulation has a minimal effect on business entities. There are several regulatory bodies at the national level and they usually internalize regulations enacted by international organizations. Regulations exist at the supra-national level mostly through WAEMU and ECOWAS.
Burkina Faso’s legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms. Since January 2018, Burkina Faso as an Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHCLA) member state adopted the revised version of the OHCLA accounting system. It is composed of the Uniform Act on Accounting and Financial Law (AUDCIF); the OHADA General Accounting Plan (PCGO); the SYSCOHADA application guide, and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) application guide. The OHCLA accounting system complies with the IFRS norms.
There is no online Regulatory Disclosure. However, the regulations of the parliament allow the various commissions to hear civil society organizations wishing to share information to inform parliamentarians when they are examining bills.
International Regulatory Considerations
Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Economic Community of West African States. There is a supranational relationship between these organizations and their state members. Burkina Faso is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHCLA). As such, Uniform Laws adopted by the OHCLA are automatically part of the national legal system.
The Government of Burkina Faso regularly notifies all the draft technical barriers to the relevant WTO Committee. In the October 2017 Trade Policy Review, the WTO congratulated WAEMU countries for their continued efforts to improve their international trading environment, especially through the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Burkina Faso has begun the ratification process of the TFA, but it has not yet completed it. However, WAEMU and ECOWAS members already implement many of the TFA provisions.
Legal System and Judicial Independence
The legal system of Burkina Faso is the civil law. Contracts must always be performed in good faith. Burkina Faso has commercial courts that judge commercial cases. Commercial law is constituted by the uniform acts of the OHADA. The Commercial Code governs all matters that are not covered by the OHADA law.
The Burkinabe judiciary is independent despite press reports of cases of corruption of judges. The Disciplinary Commission of the Judiciary has sanctioned corrupt judges. There are three degrees of jurisdiction in Burkina Faso allowing the loser to appeal a decision rendered in first instance. In the event of a dispute over the execution of a contract, the plaintiff must first abstain a judgment from a court first and if the loser does not execute, the winner can retain a bailiff.
Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
The investment code adopted by law 038-2018 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 guarantees to all legally established firms operating in Burkina Faso, whether foreign or domestic. It contains four investment and operations preference schemes, which are equally applicable to all 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.
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 state contracts.
Competition and Anti-Trust Laws
The National Commission for Competition and Consumption (Commission Nationale pour la Concurrence et la Consommation) reviews competition matters. Some competition matters are under the aegis of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Law No. 016-2017/AN of 27 April 2017 on organizing competition in Burkina Faso governs the competition sector. This law is intended to create a free and transparent market, a guarantee of the development of a market economy driven by competitive and wealth-creating businesses.
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. It also clarifies the institutional framework for conflict resolution at a local level, establishes a viable institutional framework for land management, and strengthens the general capacities of the government, local communities and civil society on land issues.
A 2009 rural land management law provides for equitable access to rural lands in order to promote agricultural productivity, manage natural resources, encourage investment, and reduce poverty. It enables legal recognition of rights legitimated by traditional rules and practices. In rural areas, traditional land tenure rules have long governed land transactions and allocations. The 2009 law reinforces the decentralization and devolution of authority over land matters and provides for formalization of individual and collective use rights and the possibility of transforming these rights into private titles.
In 2012, the government revised the 2009 law, marking the end of exclusive authority of the state over all land. It includes provisions to recognize local land use practices. The new law provides conciliation committees to resolve conflicts between parties prior to any legal action. There are several property rights recognition and protection acts, such as land charters, individual or collective land ownership certificates, and loan agreements that govern the nature, duration and counterparties for transfer rights between a landowner and a third party.
The first (2010-2014) Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact supported the establishment of local authorities and the issuance of titles as part of the land tenure reform process.
ICSID Convention and New York Convention
The ICSID Convention entered into force for Burkina Faso on October 14, 1966. 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), of which Burkina Faso is a member. When the ownership of a company does not meet the nationality requirements laid out 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.
Burkina Faso has been a member of the New York Convention since March 23, 1987.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
Burkina Faso is a party to the Washington Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and outlines arbitration procedures in its investment code as a means of solving investment disputes. BITs signed by Burkina Faso provide for international arbitration. Burkinabe courts accept international arbitration as a means for settling investment disputes between private parties. Longstanding disputes that remain unresolved after administrative jurisdictional hearings may be submitted to arbitration. Burkinabe courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The United States has not signed a BIT with Burkina Faso.
International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
Mediation and conciliation are available and encouraged in Burkina Faso. In 2006, Burkina Faso introduced specialized commercial chambers in the general courts and in 2007 opened the Arbitration, Mediation and Resolution Center (Centre d’Arbitrage, de Mediation et de Conciliation de Ouagadougou (CAMCO)) under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (http://www.camco.bf/). If a dispute is not settled by the CAMCO, the case can be referred to international bodies such as the International Chamber of Commerce of Paris.
The parliament adopted the Law number 047-2017 laying down modalities for intervention by the state jurisdictions on arbitration in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is not a member of the Apostille Convention. Consequently, any arbitral award rendered abroad should receive an exequatur before enforcement.
In 2016, a foreign mining company addressed an arbitration request to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration. The complaint stems from a dispute over the Tambao deposit in the northeastern corner of Burkina Faso. Prior to requesting arbitration in the Paris-based international court, the disputing parties seized the CAMCO.
Since Burkina Faso is a member of the OHADA, the Uniform Act on Bankruptcy is applicable.
There is no credit bureau in Burkina Faso. The World Bank’s 2019 “Doing Business” report ranked Burkina Faso 107 out of 190 countries for Resolving Insolvency.
4. Industrial Policies
The 2018 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 guarantees to all legally established firms operating in Burkina Faso, whether foreign or domestic. It contains five investment and operations preference schemes, which are equally applicable to all 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.
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 state contracts.
Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
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.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) refers to a continental geographic zone where goods and services move among member states of the AU with no restrictions. The AfCFTA aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. To date, 30 countries have both signed and approved ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement. Of the 55 AU member states, only Eritrea has yet to sign. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was subsequently launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Niamey, Niger on July 7, 2019. The AfCFTA will be governed by five operational instruments: the Rules of Origin; the online negotiating forum; the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers; a digital payments system and the African Trade Observatory. A digital payments system was supposed to start on July 1, 2020, but as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this start date has been postponed (a new date is yet to be confirmed by the African Union Commission).
Performance and Data Localization Requirements
The GoBF does not mandate local employment, but in recent years has encouraged investors to promote local employment and support local economies. The GoBF does not require investors to purchase materials from local sources or to export a certain percentage of output. However, regarding the mining sector, according to the article 101 of the mining code, “Holders of mining title or authorization and their subcontractors give preference to Burkinabe enterprises for any contract of provision of services or supplies of goods in equivalence of price, quality and time.” The GoBF does not impose “offset” requirements, which dictate that major procurements be approved only if the foreign supplier invests in Burkinabe manufacturing, research and development, or service facilities in areas related to the items being procured. Burkina Faso does not have “forced localization” policies.
5. Protection of Property Rights
Since the 2009 land tenure reform law, the government of Burkina Faso has been engaged in an effort to issue titles recognizing land ownership rights. The first Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact focused on beginning this process in 47 communes, with plans for the government to expand the effort throughout the country.
Only about 5,000 land titles have been granted countrywide since 1960, according to the National Land Observatory, and the majority of those were issued pursuant to the first Millennium Challenge compact. Obtaining a title is the last step in the process of land acquisition and is preceded by obtaining a use permit or an urban dwelling permit, developing the land, and paying applicable fees. The title-holder becomes the owner of the surface and the subsoil.
Mortgages exist in Burkina Faso both for land and for structures. Rules governing mortgages are set at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union, specifically under the Organization for the Synchronization of Business Rights in Africa (Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique des Droits des Affaires (OHADA). Liens are not widely used.
Intellectual Property Rights
Burkina Faso’s legal system offiers protection for intellectual property rights (IPR), including patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and semiconductor chip design. In practice, however, government enforcement of IPR law is lax. Burkina Faso is a destination point for counterfeit medicines, which can be purchased readily on the street in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
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.
The implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is under the purview of two ministries. The first is the Office of Copyrights (le Bureau Burkinabe des Droits d’Auteurs, or BBDA) under the Ministry of Art, Culture and Tourism, which has the lead for copyright and related rights. The National Directorate of Industrial Property under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Handicrafts has the lead for industrial property issues. These two authorities have the technical competence to identify needs. Arrangements are underway to assess the needs for the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in Burkina Faso.
Statistics on the seizure of counterfeit goods are available upon request from the relevant agency. For example, the BDDA tracks seizures pertaining to artistic material, and the the National Directorate of Industrial Property tracks seizures pertaining to pharmaceuticals..
Burkina Faso is not cited in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Reports or the Notorious Markets List.
6. Financial Sector
Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
The government of Burkina Faso is more focused on attracting FDI and concessionary lending for development than it is on developing its capital markets. Net portfolio inflows were estimated at around 1.67 percent of GDP in 2018. While the government does issue some sovereign bonds to raise capital in the WAEMU regional bond market, in general the availability of different kinds of investment instruments is extremely limited.
Money and Banking System
The banking system is sound, relatively profitable and well capitalized, but credit is highly concentrated to a small number of clients and a few sectors of the economy, according to the IMF’s March 2018 Country Report. Only 15 percent of the population has a checking account. Like all member states of WAEMU, Burkina Faso is a member of the Central Bank of West African States. Many foreign banks have branches in the country. The traditional banking sector is composed of twelve commercial banks and five specialized credit institutions called “établissements financiers.” The use of mobile money is becoming more prevalent.
Foreign Exchange and Remittances
Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU, or UEMOA when referred to by its French acronym), whose currency is the CFA franc (XOF), or FCFA. The FCFA is freely convertible into euros at a fixed rate of 655.957 FCFA to 1 euro. Investors should consider the advantages offered by the WAEMU, which allows the FCFA to be used in all eight member countries: 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. Foreign exchange is readily available at all banks and most hotels in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
The GoBF is not expected in the near future to change its current remittance policy concerning purchasing foreign currency in order to repatriate profits or other earnings.
As a member of a regional currency union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso does not engage in currency manipulation.
Burkina Faso is a member of the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Burkina Faso does not have a sovereign wealth fund.
7. State-Owned Enterprises
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.dgmarket.com.
8. Responsible Business Conduct
There is a general awareness of corporate social responsibility among both producers and consumers. The GoBF requires mining companies to invest in social infrastructure, such as health centers and schools, and other projects to benefit the local populations in the areas of their mining operations. A common practice for many companies is to provide food supplies, typically rice or millet, to their workers often at the end of the year. Larger private businesses, such as civil engineering firms, sponsor sport events like the Tour du Faso and donate sporting equipment to disadvantaged communities. SOEs such as SONABHY and LONAB frequently undertake social projects.
Burkina Faso is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2008. In 2013, it was declared an EITI compliant country, and has continued to show progress in each evaluation.
Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that Burkina Faso ranks 85 out of 180 countries. The State Supreme Audit Authority (ASCE-LC) is the leading government anti-corruption body that publishes an annual report documenting financial irregularities, embezzlement, and improper use of public funds in various ministries, government agencies, and state-run companies. In 2018, the ASCE-LC opened at least two high profile corruption investigations against the Ministers of Defense and Infrastructure, still under review. The Burkinabe government continues to grant access within its own ministries to the non-governmental watchdog National Network to Fight against Corruption (REN-LAC) that examines the management of private and public-sector entities and publishes annual reports on corruption levels within the country.
Legislation requires government officials, including the president, lawmakers, ministers, ambassadors, members of the military leadership, judges, and anyone charged with managing state funds, to declare their assets as well as any gifts or donations received while in office. Infractions are punishable by a maximum jail term of 20 years and fines of up to USD 41,670. In May 2020, former Minister of Defense, Jean-Claude Bouda, was arrested on “money laundering” and “illicit enrichment” charges following a complaint by the National Anti-Corruption Network. On June 18, State Prosecutor Harouna Yoda announced that the Deputy Director General of Customs, William Alassane Kaboré, was placed under “judicial control,” for acts of illicit enrichment and money laundering amounting to 1.3 billion CFA (USD 2.2 million). Additionally, investigations are underway on the mayor of Ouagadougou and some magistrates who allegedly tried to bury this case.
According to public perception, civil servants who most commonly engage in corruption include customs officials, members of the police force and gendarmerie, justice officials, healthcare workers, educators, tax collectors, and civil servants working in government procurement.
One of the main governmental bodies for fighting official corruption is the Superior Authority of State Control (ASCE), an entity under the authority of the Prime Minister. ASCE has the authority to investigate ethics violations and mismanagement of public funds in the public sector, including state civil service employees, local and public authorities, state-owned companies, and all national organizations involved with public service missions. ASCE publishes an annual report of activities, which provides details on its investigations and issues recommendations on how to resolve them. Many of its findings are followed by judicial action.
The Autorité de Régulation de la Commande Publique (ARCOP), established in July 2008, is the regulatory oversight body that ensures fairness in the procurement process by monitoring the execution of all government contracts. ARCOP may impose sanctions, initiate lawsuits, and publish the names of fraudulent or delinquent businesses. It also educates communities benefiting from public investment monies to take a more active part in monitoring contractors. ARCOP works with the media to strengthen journalists’ capacity to investigate suspected fraud cases. Since 2012, the media has noticeably increased its coverage of high-profile corruption cases.
The Reseau National de Lutte Contre la Corruption (REN-LAC) publishes an annual report on the state of corruption in the country, and has established a wide range of anti-corruption initiatives and tools. REN-LAC has a 24-hour hotline that allows it to gather information on alleged corrupt practices anonymously reported by citizens. African Parliamentarians’ Network against Corruption also has a local chapter in Burkina Faso and cooperates with REN-LAC.
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.
Burkina Faso has taken steps to fully adopt regional and international anti-corruption frameworks, and the country ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in October 2006.
However, the World Bank rating for control of corruption for Burkina Faso has declined since 2003 from the 56th percentile to the 33rd percentile. This means that while Burkina Faso was once rated much more favorably than its regional peers for limiting corruption, it is now close to the average for sub-Saharan African countries.
Luc Marius Ibriga
Contrôleur Général d’Etat
Autorité Supérieure de Contrôle d’Etat et de la Lutte contre la Corruption (ASCE-LC)
Telephone: +226 25 30 10 91 or +226 25 33 60 39
10. Political and Security Environment
Violent extremist elements remain active in Burkina Faso and throughout the region. They have specifically targeted Westerners in attacks and kidnappings. Terrorists may conduct attacks anywhere with no warning. Targets include hotels, restaurants, police stations, customs offices, military posts, and schools. There have been over 550 terrorist incidents in Burkina Faso since 2015, including ambushes of security forces and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. VEOS have also targeted civilians and worshippers including Christians and Muslims. In addition to attacking police stations, customs offices, military posts, and schools, extremists have attacked Ouagadougou three times since January 2016. On March 2, 2018, extremists attacked the French Embassy and Burkina Faso’s military headquarters in downtown Ouagadougou. Eight security force personnel, including soldiers and police officers, were killed, and over 80 others were injured. In August 2017, a small group of armed men attacked the Aziz Istanbul Café, a restaurant in downtown Ouagadougou, and killed approximately 19 people. Extremists attacked the Cappuccino café and Splendid Hotel in the heart of Ouagadougou’s downtown on January 15, 2016. The Government of Burkina Faso has declared a state of emergency due to insecurity in parts of 6 out of 135 administrative regions.
Since 2015, 680 events including 261 battles, 81 riots, and 322 violent incidents against civilians resulted in 2,772 fatalities, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled). Some of these attacks target local and foreign companies, including attacks against security forces escorting convoys of mining company employees, as well as hijackings of company vehicles and kidnappings of company personnel.
In the past 13 months, Post has upgraded the public travel advisory three times to reflect deteriorating security in various regions of the country. Burkina Faso is rated as “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” with areas of “Level 4: Do Not Travel”. The “Level 4” areas have increased from just a portion of the northern Sahel Region in early 2018, to include the Est Region (except Gnagna Province) in September 2018, and again in January 2019 to include all of the Est Region, Sahel Region, and portions of the Centre-Est Region and regions in western Burkina Faso bordering Mali.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
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. 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. According to the UNDP in 2018 11 percent of parliamentary seats were held by women, and six percent of adult women had reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 12.1 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 371 women die from pregnancy related causes; the adolescent birth rate is 104.3 births per 1,000 women ages 15-19. Female participation in the labor market is 58.5 percent compared to 75.1 percent for men.
Burkinabe law allows workers, except for essential workers such as magistrates, police, military, and other security personnel, to form and join independent unions of their choice without previous authorization, and to bargain collectively. The law provides for the right to strike, but also limits this right with pre-strike requirements or restrictions (including notice submission and government’s requisition power to secure minimum service in essential services).
Public servants are also entitled to engage in bargaining. In recent months, a series of public sector unions have gone on strike to demand better living and working conditions. However, increasing labor demands across multiple ministries have begun to put stress on an already strained public finance system, and have affected the tax collection processes. Although President Kabore has announced the intention to present a global labor deal (as opposed to the piecemeal settlement of strikes in different sectors that has been the case until now), it is not clear that any progress is being made on this front. The Minister of Public Service has decided to put a new salary scale for more justice and fairness in the remuneration of civil servants.
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 the 1967 decree, statements must be made to the Regional Inspector of Work and Social Rules before the start-up of any new enterprise.
Burkina Faso has undertaken reforms of labor policy to make the labor market more flexible while ensuring workers’ rights, including workers’ safety and health. To promote local employment, the government has established several financing instruments targeted at firms interested in obtaining start-up monies. These instruments include Fonds National d’Appui à la Promotion de l’Emploi – FONAPE (Employment Promotion Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui au Secteur Informel – FASI (Informal Sector Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui aux Activités Génératrices de Revenus des Femmes – FAARF (Women’s Income Generating Activities Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui aux Initiatives des Jeunes – FAIJ (Youth Initiative Support Fund), and Fonds Burkinabe de Développement Economique et Social – FBDES (Burkinabe Fund for Social and Economic Development).
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.
To date, Burkina Faso has approved and ratified 43 conventions of the International Labor Organization, including conventions on Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize, Abolition of Forced Labor, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Mainly the Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security and a labor court enforce the labor code. Unions are well organized, independent from the government, and defend employee interests in industrial disputes. Workers know their rights and do not hesitate to seek redress of grievances.
Despite the government’s substantial efforts to reduce child labor in the past few years, 42 percent of children in Burkina Faso continue to engage in child labor, particularly in agriculture. The worst forms of child labor take place in mining. Cotton and gold are included on the U.S. government’s Executive Order 13126 List of Goods Produced by Forced and Indentured Child Labor.
The 1982 Commercial Sector Collective Agreement divides employees (laborers, artisans, and senior staff) into eight categories with minimum basic pay rates from 25,000 FCFA (about USD 45) per month. Conditions for the employment of workers by enterprises are provided in Decree no. 98 of 1967. An employer should ask job candidates for their job-seeker registration card issued by the Office of Employment Promotion, which is part of the Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security
12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Other Investment Insurance Programs
Burkina Faso has not benefitted from any DFC programs thus far. Burkina Faso is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
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
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)