Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sahelian country, which is among the poorest in the world. Its population is 16.9 million, and its land area is 274,000 km2. The economy strongly depends on the agricultural sector (cotton and livestock), which employs 80% of the active population and accounts for 30% of the GDP. Being mainly dependent on annual rainfall, this sector is quite vulnerable to climate change. For the last few years, the mining sector has been becoming increasingly more important due to gold extraction. Cotton and gold account for 85% of the total exports. Despite an average growth of 5.3% over the period of 2005 - 2011, the proportion of the population in poverty decreased slowly from 46.4% in 2003 to 43.9% in 2009/2010. High demographic growth and non-inclusive development are major constraints for poverty reduction. GNI per capita is $570 (2011). In reference to the political system, even though the country has been going through a process of democratisation since the beginning 1990s, democracy is yet to be consolidated. Following the local elections in April 2006, one of the main remaining challenges to be faced in the coming years is the further devolution of responsibilities and resources to local authorities.
The Country Strategy Paper for Burkina Faso (2008-2013) describes the strategic framework for cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and Burkina Faso under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EC assistance focuses mainly on improving basic infrastructure and interconnectivity and supporting good governance. EC cooperation has been contributing to improving road networks, providing increased & more sustainable access to water & sanitation, and promoting renewable energy sources. It also aims to improve political, democratic and local governance. In addition, the EU has been supporting the government’s macroeconomic reform programme for poverty reduction through general budget support.
The multi-annual indicative programme for Burkina Faso under the 10th EDF allocates €708 million to these priorities. In particular, additional funds have been granted as a result of the midterm review in order to speed up the progress towards the MDG. The sectors targeted by these funds are health, sanitation and food security.
All EC projects in Burkina Faso also address cross-cutting issues such as gender, environment and capacity building. In particular, €8 million are to be allocated to deal with climate change.
The Country Strategy Paper for Burkina Faso (2001-2007) gave priority to macroeconomic and poverty reduction programmes, including sector budget support for education and transport, particularly road infrastructure as well as rural development and food security under 9th EDF funding. €465 million was allocated to these priorities.
For further details on projects and programmes in Burkina Faso financed by the European Development Fund and the general budget of the EU, please visit the project's section of the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso.
Other sources of information
More information on EU relations with Burkina Faso is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso, which is also responsible for co-operation activities in the country.