Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is penalized by being landlocked, difficult agro-climatic conditions and the lack of major natural resources. However, it can rely on real advantages, such as its democratic vitality, its remarkable resilience and its now stabilized political situation. While needs are increasing due to rapid population growth, AFD is supporting the country in structural sectors for the economy and society: basic infrastructure (energy, water and sanitation), urban and rural development, education and vocational training.
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women carrying goods, Burkina Faso
solar plant, energy, Zagtouli, Burkina Faso

Strengthening education and training

women carrying goods, Burkina Faso


In a country marked by its extremely young population, the quality of education and training is essential. The Government has made it a priority strategic sector in its development policy. 
AFD has been a key partner in the sector for over 15 years, from primary to higher education. Between 2000 and 2016, our financing stood at over EUR 70m, including 80% for basic education.  

And Burkina Faso has made real progress: the gross primary enrolment rate rose from 46.5% in 2001 to 86.1% in 2016. In terms of equity, in 2016, for each boy completing the six years of primary education, 1.1 girls had done so, against 0.68 girls for each boy in 2001. 

Our objective for the coming years: ensure universal primary education, improve the quality of the education system and eradicate illiteracy by 2021. We are consequently supporting several projects to: 

  • Ensure the continuity of schooling between primary and post-primary education (objective: 100% by 2025)
  • Reduce geographical inequalities (particularly in the Sahel region)
  • Establish gender parity in school access and retention 
  • Ensure literacy for young people
  • Improve governance in the education sector. 

Pushing ahead with electrification in the country

solar panel, zagtouli power plant, burkina faso


Electricity supply in Burkina Faso is largely inadequate. In 2015, less than 20% of the population had access to electricity. The rate falls to 3% in rural areas. The supply is unreliable, costly and almost entirely dependent on the outside world via electricity and hydrocarbon imports. It falls short of demand, which is estimated to increase by 13% a year.
To reverse the trend, AFD is supporting the implementation of several nationwide projects. We are financing the construction of high and medium-voltage lines to connect remote cities in the north of the country (Ouahigouya, Djibo and Dori) and double the quantity of electricity imported from Ghana at a satisfactory price. 

With the European Union, we are supporting the commissioning of the largest solar power plant in West Africa, in Zagtouli. With an installed capacity of 33 MW, it will supply 10 to 15% of domestic energy demand during the day at a cost well below the current cost price of the National Electricity Company (SONABEL). The Zagtouli solar power plant is just a first stage in Burkina Faso’s ambition to become a solar champion in West Africa, with a target of achieving 30% of solar generation capacity by 2025. 

We will be supporting this 2025 Solar Plan (construction of photovoltaic power plants, storage, rural electrification based on solar solutions), as well as new interconnection projects with neighboring countries (Nigeria, Niger, Benin…) in order to increase the import capacity and thereby allow Burkina Faso to be supplied at a lower cost. 

Developing the water and sanitation sector

water, Burkina Faso


In rural areas, 61% of the population has access to drinking water and only 10% to sanitation. In cities, access to water reaches 87%. However, strong demographic pressure means that Burkina Faso is struggling to maintain these access rates. Yet the country aims to achieve universal access to drinking water and sanitation for populations by 2030. 

AFD is supporting the National Office of Water and Sanitation (ONEA) in achieving this objective. Several projects are ongoing to:

  • Increase the drinking water production and distribution capacity in Ouagadougou and develop sanitation infrastructure in the most deprived neighborhoods
  • Strengthen the drinking water supply network in Bobo-Dioulasso, the country’s second largest city 
  • Build 8,000 sanitation facilities in six secondary cities and strengthen the capacities of the municipal management services 
  • Build 30 simplified water supply systems in semi-urban areas and develop an innovative management system for private operators.

As of 2018, we are going to continue and extend our support to Bobo-Dioulasso to cover drinking water needs for 2030, and support drinking water production and distribution in Ouahigouya. 

Supporting urban development

urban landscape, motorbikes, city hall, Burkina Faso


Ouagadougou faces both strong population growth and urban sprawl. The number of inhabitants in the city rose from 1.5 million in 2006 to 2.1 million in 2015, and… in all likelihood will rise to 6 million inhabitants by 2030. In this context, issues related to infrastructure, access to services and mobility are crucial. 

AFD, which has had close relations with the municipality since 1997, is helping the municipal council implement concrete solutions in the field. Our support is provided through the Ouagadougou Sustainable Development Project (PDDO 1 and 2), for a total amount of EUR 107m since 2013. 

  • We have developed 13 km of roads/drainage networks to open up outlying neighborhoods and have financed the construction/rehabilitation of two public bus stations. 
  • The next stage of this ambitious program provides for 13 km of additional roads to improve access and the development of 3 neighborhoods in the city (Tampouy, Grand Est and Katre Yaar): roads, sanitation, classrooms, health centers, sports facilities, bus stations, a market... 
  • In the context of decentralized cooperation, the municipality of Greater Lyon is assisting the municipality of Ouagadougou with its mobility policy. This technical assistance is financed by AFD.

Promoting rural development

Burkina Faso, agroecology, Ronga Oudréaogo


The agricultural sector constitutes Burkina Faso’s main economic activity (30% of GDP) and its population is overwhelmingly rural (77%). The productivity of agricultural industries remains low, as agricultural practices have until now been relatively extensive. 

In order to strengthen the country’s food security, since 2012, AFD has been working to develop Burkina Faso’s rural sector. We assist territorial authorities and decentralized administrations to enable them to make sustainable local development investments in rural areas and implement actions for land tenure security. 

We are financing:

  • A project to support food security in the East region. It integrates the law on the rural land tenure system and allows agricultural, livestock raising, production and market infrastructure to be developed. The project also provides for capacity building for actors to improve productivity, while ensuring the sustainable management of territories. 
  • In the East region, village water programs, which provide for the construction of 30 simplified water supply systems, the implementation of an innovative management system by private operators and capacity building for the local administration.
  • In the Boucle du Mouhoun region, in the West, a natural resources and land management project, which supports municipal investments.
  • At national level, a program to support contract farming and the ecological transition, which aims to better meet food demand by developing contract farming, agroecological intensification and the professionalization of actors.
million euros committed in 2019
km of roads built in Ouagadougou
of annual electricity consumption produced by the Zagtouli solar power plant (26,000 tons of CO2 saved every year)

Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sahel country and one of the poorest countries in the world. It has few natural resources and needs to manage very rapid population growth: its population has doubled in less than 25 years to over 18 million inhabitants and is expected to exceed 27 million inhabitants by 2030. This situation largely undermines economic growth: it requires planning oversized investments to ensure that infrastructure is not overwhelmed as soon as it is commissioned.

Burkina Faso is vulnerable to climate change, driven by an undiversified economy and is highly dependent on the primary sector. It has major challenges to address.

However, its stabilized political situation, its democratic vitality and its remarkable resilience to the shocks it has been subject to in recent years are clearly an advantage for attracting investments in the coming years, first and foremost from France and French companies.

AFD has been a partner since 1960 and supports Burkina Faso’s development programs in structural sectors for the economy and society: basic infrastructure (energy, water and sanitation), urban and rural development, education and vocational training. It provides financial and technical support to the Government of Burkina Faso, public and private companies and territorial authorities.

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