Burkina Faso is a member of WTO since 1995. The country is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Non Tariff Barriers
Non-tariff barriers take the form of licensing requirements, special uthorizations, export registration requirements, supplementary taxes on imports, targeted import bans, etc.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which imposes a common external tariff whose rates vary between 5, 10, 15 and 20%. The basis for calculating import duties is cost, insurance, and freight (CIF).
The prices for rights and taxes for the import of goods consists of the following duties and taxes: • Customs duty (from 0% to 35%) • Statistical royalty (1%) • Value added tax (18%) • Community solidarity tax (1%) • CEDEAO community tax (0.5%)
The import of certain goods may be subject to an additional excise duty: • Petroleum products (fixed duties which vary depending on scale given by general tax code) • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic products (from 10% to 30%) • Coffee and tea (10%) • Tobacco (17% to 30%) • Kola nuts (10%) • Livestock in transit in Burkina Faso (from XOF 150 to XOF 2 500 per animal) • Fragrance and cosmetic products (10%)
Burkina Faso is a member of the World Customs Organisation and does comply with the harmonised customs system (HS).
Goods imported to Burkina Faso must be coupled with the following documents:
four copies of the invoice indicating the FOB value of goods;
certificate of origin or EUR which is available for the importer or banks;
transport documents such as a bill of lading, airway bill, etc.;
phytosanitary certificate for unprocessed vegetable products;
sanitary certificate for meat and meat products;
insurance for any merchandise whose value is higher than CFA50,000;
any goods whose FOB value is higher or equivalent to CFA150,000 shall be subject before its shipment to quality, price and quantity inspection.
Samples shall not be subject to quality, price and quantity inspection.
With a population of around 21.5 million people (IMF, 2021), Burkina Faso has been classified as a low-income country by the World Bank. In fact, GDP per capita has now reached USD 876 (IMF, 2021).
Burkinabe consumers are relatively young: according to data from the CIA (2020 est.), the proportion of children below the age of 14 is 43.58%, 20.33% for those between 15 and 24, 29.36% between 25 and 54, while only 6.73% are 55 or older. The World Bank Development indicators for its part reveals that in 2019, 70.2% of the population was living in rural areas. This part of the population has relatively low access to consumer goods as compared to people living in urban areas (mainly the capital Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou and Banfora.)
Generally, the Burkinabe consumer has a limited budget and most of the expenses are directed towards primary needs: according to a study published by the Economic Centre of the Sorbonne University, the majority of the household budget is spent on consumption (74.5%), with the bulk of expenditures going to food. The remaining part is spent on leisure (17.6%) and other activities (7.9%). On average, Burkinabe households spend around CFA 1.25 million on food, education, healthcare, transportation, housing, durable goods, leisure, and other items every year. Families have on average six members, of which 10% have female family heads (United Nations, latest data available). Most of the household heads work as farmers and are between 36–60 years old, with a low school enrolment ratio.
Price is the primary decision factor when making a purchase, and Burkinabe consumers are really sensitive to price elasticity. Therefore, promotions and favourable terms of payment can help attract more buyers. Only a really small portion of the population (mainly located in urban areas, especially the capital Ouagadougou) has a stronger purchasing power and can afford to buy imported or durable goods.
Currently, there are no reliable figures about the size of the retail market in Burkina Faso, however the country can be considered a small and undeveloped grocery retail market, characterised by low spending but high growth. Though Burkinabe consumers still prefer to buy from roadside markets or from farmers (keeping in mind that most of the crops come from subsistence agriculture), supermarkets are becoming more and more popular (a 2018 survey estimated that 31.4% of city dwellers now shop from supermarkets, mainly from the middle-class). As of now, there are no international grocery players in the country (unlike other neighbouring countries).
The main chains in Burkina Faso are:
Le Bon Samaritain
Les Bons Amis
Data from Internet World Stats (IWS) shows that as of December 2017, Burkina Faso had an internet penetration rate of 18.8%. According to Statista, in 2017, there were 93.5 mobile subscriptions registered for every 100 people, while a 2016 Pew Research Center report showed that 16% of adults in Burkina Faso owned a smartphone. In 2016, the government, with the support of the World Bank, launched the e-Burkina project, which aims to digitally connect public agencies, schools and health facilities, develop e-education, e-health and e-agriculture services, promote the ICT industry, through investments in incubation centres, innovation, research and development The most popular web search engines in Burkina Faso are Google (95.4%), Bing and Yahoo (2.1% and 1.9% respectively).
E-trade is not yet developed in Burkina Faso, as the country lacks the infrastructure and legal systems to support it. Other obstacles to the development of online commerce are the low rates of internet penetration and the poor quality of internet connection (which is not helped by the lack of competition in the telecommunications sector). According to a study on Western African countries by UNCTAD, e-commerce is developing mainly in the informal economy, through private classifieds sites (like Jumia.bf, Rigo Faso or Bonbiz) and social networks (according to IWS, in Burkina Faso there are around 840,000 Facebook subscribers). Furthermore, some professional operators have developed platforms covering sectors such as agribusiness, clothing, IT and household appliances. Online payments remain marginal despite an increased dynamism in the development of electronic payment systems, with cash on delivery still being the standard payment method. Logistics is another factor hindering e-commerce, as often delivering consumer goods bought or sold online is almost impossible, especially outside of urban areas.
The agricultural sector is estimated to account 28.7% of Burkina Faso’s GDP, employing 27.6% of the workforce (World Bank, 2017). Main cultivations are cotton, pearl millet, groundnuts, karite, sesame, sorghum, maize, and rice. The industrial sector is dominated by the mining industry (gold accounts for around three-quarters of the country’s total export), which contributes 18.3% of the GDP and employs 32% of the active population. The service sector is prominent in the Burkinabe economy, accounting for 55.1% of GDP and 40.4% of employment (consisting chiefly of wholesale and retail distribution, telecommunications, posts and transport).
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