flag Burkina Faso Burkina Faso: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Burkina Faso | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

According to the World Investment Report 2021 by the UNCTAD, FDI inflows into Burkina Faso declined slightly from USD 163 million in 2019 to USD 149 million in 2020. The total stock of FDI stood at USD 3 billion in 2020. In 2021, global FDI flows rebounded strongly, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately (UNCTAD’ Investment Trends Monitor). The mining sector attracts most of the investments and the exploration of new deposits has been increasing. The country's soils contain gold as well as zinc and manganese. The main investing countries are Lebanon and France (70% of FDI). The creation of three new growth centres, after the success of the Bagré Reservoir, is expected to spur new activities and attract investment. The government is interested in exploring areas that are potentially suitable for oil extraction. Two new mines became operational in 2017 (Houndé and Netiana) and the country is looking to exploit the Tambao deposit (worth USD 1 billion, currently the largest in the world reserve of manganese, with an estimated 55 million ton), which should bring in significant foreign investment.

Burkina Faso encourages FDI and offers tax and legal incentives, such as the possibility for a foreign company to own 100% of shares in a local company. However, investments in sectors such as mining, telecommunications, financial services and electricity are subject to restrictions. The country's economy is favourable to trade, and the condition of its infrastructure is considered satisfactory. However, its lack of access to the sea and agricultural resources, as well as the weakness of its industrial sector, constitute major hindrances to investments. The business climate is still poor compared to international standards. In World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Report, the country has been ranked 151st worldwide, for the ease of doing business. The country remained at this same ranking from the 2019 edition. While improving access to credit information, the country needs to work on access to electricity, protecting minority investors, resolving insolvency issues and strengthening contracts. Political instability, as well as insecurity and violence linked to the jihadi insurgency are negatively affecting business climate. 

 
 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 163-102137
FDI Stock (million USD) 2,6182,7502,670
Number of Greenfield Investments* 654
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 53032590

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Burkina Faso

Strong Points

The strong points of the Burkinabé economy include:

  • Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union which ensures the stability of the CFA franc (freely exchangeable to EUR at a fixed rate)
  • the country’s legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms
  • Africa’s leading cotton producer
  • gold exporting country (Africa’s 5th largest producer)
  • low unemployment rate (4.94% in 2020 according to the World Bank), abundant labour force and young population
  • the country is supported by the international financial community (as shown by the fact that Burkina Faso was one of the first countries to have benefited from the HIPC initiative)
  • the country benefits from political and institutional stability
  • the country’s investment code guarantees foreign investors the right to the overseas transfer of any funds associated with an investment, including dividends, receipts from liquidation, assets, and salaries.
Weak Points

The main challenges for foreign investors include:

  • the strong influence of state-owned firms in certain sectors
  • weak intellectual property protections
  • dangerous safety conditions, with terrorist attacks (especially in the North)
  • the country’s economy is highly exposed to weather events
  • the informal sector still has a strong influence on the economy
  • Burkina Faso is vulnerable to movements in cotton and gold prices
  • the country is heavily dependent on foreign aid
  • weak infrastructures
  • Burkina Faso is landlocked
  • deficits of the current and fiscal accounts
  • demographic pressures, high poverty rate, very weak human development index
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The government of Burkina Faso is actively seeking to promote foreign investments. Some of the measures taken include tax breaks and incentives to lure in foreign investors. There are also exemptions from value-added tax on certain equipment; special tax and customs regime for investment agreements signed by the state with big investors; the creation of a deposit institution that provides financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, public-private partnerships, and real estate investments thanks to the adoption of the government’s “general investment guidelines”, the creation of enterprise registration centres called Centres de Formalités des Entreprises (CEFOREs), whose purpose is to make registration of companies simpler.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Under the investment code, all personal and legal entities lawfully established in Burkina Faso, both local and foreign.
Acquisition of Holdings
Most of the sectors are fully open to foreign capital participation. In fact, the Burkinabe investment code prohibits discrimination against foreign investors. However, there are some restrictions: for example the state automatically owns 10% of the shares of all companies active in the mining sector and is entitled to appoint one member of the board of directors for such companies. Furthermore, the law requires companies providing mobile or wireless communication services to have at least one domestic shareholder. Other additional strategic sectors have a monopolistic market structures (in particular the oil and gas sector, the electricity transmission and distribution sectors, and the fixed-line telephony sector)
Obligation to Declare
Foreign companies who want to establish a business in Burkina Faso have to follow the same procedure as local ones.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Chamber of Commerce business registration
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Foreigners are guaranteed an equal treatment and are entitled to the following rights: fixed property; forest and industrial rights; concessions; administrative authorizations; access to permits; and participation in state contracts. There is no specific authorizations required.

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Latest Update: July 2022