Burkina Faso Economy

June 29, 2010Burkina Fasoby EconomyWatch


Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations in the world. The African country suffers from scarcity of natural resources, fragile soil and a large population. Agriculture forms the mainstay of Burkina Faso economy. Industrial growth is at a nascent stage.

Burkina Faso is an underdeveloped country in Africa. Agriculture comprise approximately 35% of total GDP. More than 90% of the country's working population is engaged in agriculture. Principal crops include rice, millet, maize and sorghum. Principal export crop is cotton. Burkina Faso also produces and exports small quantities of sesame, groundnuts, garden vegetables, and shea nuts. Livestock industry has declined in recent years.


The mineral sector of Burkina is starkly underdeveloped. However, the presence of new found gold in Poura gold reserves is already contributing to more than 10% of annual export earnings. Silver and Zinc are also mined in the vicinity. World Bank loans are used to modernize the Burkina Faso mining industry.


Agriculture in Burkina Faso is overly dependent on natural environmental conditions. The northern part of the country has the Sahara Desert and is subject to regular drought. Furthermore, soils are frequently found to be lateritic and poor in terms of crop cultivation. In recent times, a United Nations supported project to eliminate onchocerciasis or river blindness has led the growth of agriculture in river valleys. These valleys are fertile and are slowly becoming habitable. Arable land makes up only 17.66% of the total land area.

CFA devaluation

France devalued the CFA Franc in 1994. This devaluation was done to catalyze investment for exports. Devaluation of the Franc was also done to discourage imports that can be substituted by locally grown products. Exports have risen since then.


GDP (purchasing power parity) of Burkina Faso is $17.41 billion (2007). Growth rate is calculated to be 4.2%. Per capita GDP is $1,200. Agriculture comprise 29.7% of total GDP. Industry makes up 19.4% and services 50.9% (as of 2007). Total labor force is 5 million persons. Burkina Faso suffers from a current account balance deficit of -$706 million. Principal export partners are Singapore, Ghana, Niger, China and Thailand. China is the largest importer with more than 30.2% of total Burkina Faso exports.


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