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Economy of Burkina Faso
Currency CFA Franc (XOF)
Fiscal year Calendar year
Trade organisations AU, WTO
Statistics [1]
GDP ranking 128th (2008) [2]
GDP $17.82 billion (2008)
GDP growth 4.5% (2008)
GDP per capita $1,200 (2008)
GDP by sector agriculture (29.1%), industry (19.9%), services (51%) (2008)
Inflation 7.3% (2008)
Pop below poverty line 46.4% (2004)
Labour force 5 million (note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment) (2003)
Labour force by occupation agriculture (90%), (2000)
Unemployment 77% (2004)
Main industries cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold
Trading Partners [3]
Exports $809 million (2008)
Export - Commodities cotton, livestock, gold
Main partners People's Republic of China 29.6%, Singapore 15.7%, Thailand 7.2%, Ghana 6.4%, Niger 4.8% (2007)
Imports $1.665 billion (2008)
Imports - Commodities capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
Main Partners Côte d'Ivoire 25.8%, France 20.6%, Togo 7.1% (2007)
Public finances [4]
Public debt N/A
Revenues $1.799 billion (2008)
Expenses $2.337 billion (2008)

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world with an average income per capita of €250 (US$300). More than 80 percent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture, with only a small fraction directly involved in industry and services. Highly variable rainfall, poor soils, lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure, a low literacy rate, and a stagnant economy are all longstanding problems of this landlocked country. The export economy also remains subject to fluctuations in world prices.

The country has a high population density, few natural resources, and a fragile soil. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the African franc currency devaluation in January 1994 the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies, and exports and economic growth have increased. Maintenance of its macroeconomic progress depends on continued low inflation, reduction in the trade deficit, and reforms designed to encourage private investment.


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Burkina Faso at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of CFA Francs.

Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange Inflation Index (2000=100)
1980 412,240 211.29 CFA Francs 45
1985 642,387 449.22 CFA Francs 67
1990 848,910 272.26 CFA Francs 65
1995 1,330,159 499.12 CFA Francs 88
2000 1,861,522 711.86 CFA Francs 100
2005 3,027,196 526.56 CFA Francs 115

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 179.70 CFA Francs only.

Current GDP per capita[1] of Burkina Faso grew 13 percent in the Sixties reaching a peak growth of 237 percent in the Seventies. But this proved unsustainable and growth consequently scaled back to 23 percent in the Eighties. Finally, it shrank by 37 percent in the Nineties. Average wages in 2007 hover around 2 to 3 dollars per day.

A peanut seller in Ouagadougou.

Although handicapped by an extremely resource-deprived domestic economy, Burkina remains committed to the structural adjustment program it launched in 1991. It has largely recovered from the devaluation of the CFA in January 1994, with a 1996 growth rate of 5.9 percent.

Many Burkinabe migrate to neighbouring countries for work, and their remittances provide a substantial contribution to the balance of payments. Burkina is attempting to improve the economy by developing its mineral resources, improving its infrastructure, making its agricultural and livestock sectors more productive and competitive, and stabilizing the supplies and prices of cereals.

The agricultural economy remains highly vulnerable to fluctuations in rainfall. The Mossi Plateau in north central Burkina faces encroachment from the Sahara. The resultant southward migration means heightened competition for control of very limited water resources south of the Mossi Plateau. Most of the population ekes out a living as subsistence farmers, living with problems of climate, soil erosion, and rudimentary technology. The staple crops are pearl millet, sorghum, maize, and rice. The cash crops are cotton, groundnuts, karite (shea nuts), and sesame. Livestock, once a major export, has declined.


See also

External trade

Burkinabe exports in 2006

Industry, still in an embryonic stage, is located primarily in Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouagadougou, Banfora, and Koudougou. Manufacturing is limited to food processing, textiles, and other import substitution heavily protected by tariffs. Some factories are privately owned, and others are set to be privatized. Burkina's exploitable natural resources are limited, although a manganese ore deposit is located in the remote northeast. Gold mining has increased greatly since the mid-1980s and, along with cotton, is a leading export moneyearner.


External links


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