Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in the West African Sahel with a growing economy (5.7 percent in 2019). Following the fall of the long-standing president, Blaise Compaoré, and the defeat of an attempted coup, democratic elections proceeded peacefully at the end of 2015. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was elected as new president. Despite some changes in the cabinet, the government remains in office until the next elections scheduled for autumn 2020. However, how the elections can be held due to the security situation and the one million internally displaced people is still unclear at present.
In economic terms, commodity exports (gold, cotton) notably boosted the gross domestic product. In recent years, the international collapse in prices and political crises culminated in an economic crisis for large parts of the population nonetheless. Most of the working population in Burkina Faso is still employed in the agriculture sector. However, harvest yields are generally just enough to meet subsistence needs and vary greatly due to the adverse climate. As well as the effects of the climate change contribute to this. The Burkinabè struggle with recurrent food crises. In addition, the overall security situation has deteriorated in recent years. A very high security risk and risk of social unrest are likely to continue in the near future. Many parts of the country are practically impassable, especially the border regions.
REDUCING POVERTY TOGETHER
Although Burkina Faso has made progress in the last 20 years – in primary school education and drinking water supply, for example – almost half of its more than 20 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. This is why Austria actively supports the government of Burkina Faso in its efforts to reduce poverty and to combat the effects of various distresses – such as with the supply of food or in dealing with the immense challenge of internally displaced persons. Improving training and raising productivity are among the foremost challenges that the country has been facing over the past years. The Austrian Development Agency therefore promotes practical and needs-based vocational training and the professionalization of skilled crafts and agriculture. Two third-party funded projects – one with the EU and one with the state of Vorarlberg – are also being implemented.
Burkina Faso has been a priority country of Austrian Development Cooperation since 1992. A field office was established in the capital, Ouagadougou, in 1996.