Burkina Faso

Date of publication
June 2011

The African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), acting as a consortium, have launched a joint initiative to develop a land policy framework in Africa to strengthen land rights, enhance productivity and secure livelihoods. Working in close collaboration with the regional economic communities (RECs), regional studies and regional consultations are being conducted to provide inputs into the development of the framework. This report is on the West Africa region. The report has been compiled primarily from a desktop study, using existing literature and other information accessed via the Internet. It has been validated and enriched with inputs and comments gathered from a regional workshop held in Ouagadougou from 15–18 April 2008. Details provided on the countries in the region, as could be obtained from such sources, have been updated from the regional workshop and synthesised as country profiles.

The report considers the critical issues providing the context for discussing land issues affecting West Africa as a region. These include the political, social and economic context, colonial legacy and legal plural systems, the operations of regional economic communities and other regional initiatives, impact of demography, migration and urbanization, conflicts and post-conflict issues, as well as shared resources and ecosystems. The report then considers the relevance of key issues and challenges to the West Africa region as identified by the LPI consortium in the continental backgound document. The issues include state sovereignty over land, drought, desertification and floods, protecting the commons, including pastoral rights, evolution of the land market and security of tenure, decentralization and its effect on efficient land management, land and mining, and gender and land issues. The issue of biofuels and the land requirement for providing the feedstock and HIV/AIDS are discussed as critical emerging issues.

Out of the key issues presented and discussed, the Ouagadougou workshop identified five priority issues of utmost importance to the region. These are:

  • Security of tenure
  • State sovereignty over land
  • Good governance in land administration
  • Funding for the development and implementation of land policies
  • Protecting customary land rights.

The report then considers the land policies existing in member countries in the region, and the policy formulation processes. Only four countries have a land policy document, formulated through different mechanisms: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone. All other countries have land laws in operation with different foci. The implementation mechanisms of the various laws and policies are also discussed, particularly in the context of massive decentralization taking place in the region. Lessons from the various processes and what is needed to improve the land policy formulation processes in the region to ensure strengthened land rights, enhanced productivity and secure livelihoods are also considered. The gaps in terms of knowledge, and human and financial resources needed to improve the land policy environment in the region are also discussed. Finally, proposals for improving the draft for the Africa-wide land policy framework are made. The key recommendation which runs through the report is that some of the key challenges facing the region can be tackled at the regional level and that it will require more commitment from governments in the region to push the processes forward in a meaningful way and achieve real impacts on the livelihoods of the people in the region.

Date of publication
August 2014
Geographical focus

The authors present evidence that in
Burkina Faso, certain high-performing local institutions
contribute to equitable economic development. They link
reduced levels of poverty, and inequality to a high degree
of internal village organization. The structure of these
high-performing local organizations means they can exist in
a number of African countries, because they depend more on
internal participation, rather than on nay one
country's cultural assets. The authors find that: 1)
Service-asset management groups (SAMs) - one of three local
institutions identified in the study - have helped to
significantly reduce inequality in participating households.
SAMs are a fusion of long-standing development committees,
and indigenous management councils that collectively manage
community assets, such as water. SAMs have combined the
productivity goals of growth, with the values of equity, and
solidarity. 2) Current development approaches use growth as
an initiator, assuming that surpluses will be used to
benefit the poor. SAMs, and other local institutions in
Burkina Faso, start with equity, and solidarity, and aim for
a result of growth, and development. 3) Internal
participation is essential for SAMs to function. Only
locally anchored participation can power the realignments,
and institutional revisions needed to scale up development
action. SAMs, and other local institutions have launched
their communities on equitable growth paths, and are
reducing poverty with little, or no outside assistance,
despite severe resource constraints. Their impact could be
enormous if external development resources augmented their
potential. World Bank programs, and policy interventions
could build on local strength, and make their activities
more sustainable by mapping local institutions to guide new
initiatives in pro-poor investment, and using that mapping
to formalize, and increase internal local participation -
expanding nationwide by using a network of local
institutions. SAMs, and other local institutions, could be
the vehicle for ensuring transparency, and accountability.
Working with the results of local activities, national
policies could favor the development of indigenously based,
but externally oriented local economies.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

More than 90 percent of the population
in the Sahel lives on agriculture. The fact that crop
production has not kept up with population growth during the
last two decades is attributed to land degradation and
productivity decline resulting in increased levels of rural
poverty, food shortages and chronic food insecurity. In
response, since the 1980s, Sahelian farmers have
experimented with various soil and water conservation
techniques to restore, maintain or improve soil fertility.

Date of publication
June 2012
Geographical focus

Linking growth and poverty is a crucial element for evaluating the effectiveness of government policies under the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process. Burkina Faso has benefited from more than 3 percent growth in per-capita incomes since the devaluation in 1994, while the steady increase in incomes, albeit from a very low level, should over time have lifted some Burkinabe above the poverty line, and led to a reduction in poverty rates. Growth during 1998-2003 was driven by a large expansion of the primary sector, following the 1997-98 drought. This study uses household data from 1998 and 2003 data to a) consider the measurement of poverty over time; b) study the links between growth and poverty in 1998-2003, and under possible future growth paths; c) examine the relationship between poverty and social services; and, d) illustrate equity considerations in the execution of fiscal policy choices. Using a comparable poverty measure, it was found that poverty headcount declined by about 8 percentage points between 1998 and 2003. The poverty decline was stronger in rural, than in urban areas, and, inequality remained largely unchanged on the national level between 1998 and 2003. The conclusion that poverty declined between 1998 and 2003, is robust to changes in the poverty line. Using a household income measure, rather than consumption also allows drawing the conclusion that poverty declined during 1994-98. As regards correlates of poverty, results are similar for the 2003 survey as those found in previous studies. Larger household size, lower education levels, occupation in agriculture, and remoteness tend to be correlated with lower per-capita consumption levels. The decline in national poverty rates between 1998 and 2003 is largely a result of the growth in agricultural output, both in subsistence farming and cotton farming. The report suggests building on the PRSP strategic vision for broad-based growth, to improve the effectiveness, and focus of government actions that could drive subsistence farmers into market-based, and export activities, and broaden the poverty-reducing impact of cotton production. Furthermore, a review of the poverty and inequality impact of growth-supporting policies for rural and urban sectors into the PRSP, and policy design would recognize how government actions may support an equitable economic growth. In addition, the study on exogenous shocks could be deepened, to explicitly identify risks for the poverty reduction strategy, and identify possible government policy responses.

Date of publication
June 2012
Geographical focus

The objective of the Diagnostic Trade
Integration Study (DTIS) is to build the foundation for
accelerated growth by enhancing the integration of its
economy into regional and global markets. Burkina Faso is
one of the best economic performers in West Africa, yet its
integration into the world economy, as measured by its trade
and foreign investment performance, is among the lowest.
Economic growth has been strong, higher than all other
countries in the sub-region. This has been achieved in spite
of droughts and cricket invasions, and the turmoil in Cote
d'Ivoire, and without significant oil or mining
exports. Macroeconomic management has been consistently
strong, and inflation low. At the same time, its export to
gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is only one-third that of
Senegal or Mali, while foreign directs investment inflows
are far below the average for sub-Saharan Africa. At a time
when globalization is determining the fate of nations,
Burkina Faso seems to be on the sidelines and doing fairly
well. If the country is to raise economic growth rates to
the levels necessary to make major inroads on poverty, and
reduce its aid dependence, it will need to improve its
performance on exports and foreign investment.
Implementation of a weighing program to fight against
overloading of merchandise, coordinated along all the
corridors.The challenge for Burkina Faso is to step up
efforts to consolidate this sound performance in order to
accelerate growth and deepen the fight against poverty.
These efforts will be deployed on three fronts. The first
consists in maintaining macroeconomic stability to improve
the international competitiveness of the economy; the
second, diversifying exports to expand trade and stimulate
growth; and the third, strengthening social sectors and
small operators in order to make growth inclusive and to
maximize its impact on poverty reduction. This study focuses
on the second challenge, taking into account the importance
of participation by small operators.

Date of publication
February 2013
Geographical focus

The main conclusion of Country Economic
Memorandum is that the previous model of extensive growth
has now exhausted its potential and must be renewed. Given
the existing population dynamics, low environmental
tolerance due to its Sahelian climate and competition forces
imposed due to its open economy, Burkina Faso is heavily
investing in growth based on increased productivity to
overcome its low level of initial human capital, capacity
constraints and regulation. To help define the new model of
development of Burkina Faso, the Country Economic Memorandum
is exploring growth based on productivity both at macro-,
meso-economic or sectoral, micro and institutional levels
only. It also assesses the sustainability of growth in the
human, demographic, financial, fiscal and physical
infrastructure. Wherever possible, it evaluates the
performance of previous development programs and provides
diagnostics on problems. It analyzes the current situation
in terms of challenges and opportunities. Several major
constraints on growth have been identified and the
Memorandum offers practical ways to reduce or mitigate them.
These constraints are: i. The frequency of exogenous shocks
on agriculture in Burkina Faso, especially cotton,
significantly slows the socio-economic development; ii. The
real appreciation of the exchange rate has eroded the price
competitiveness; iii. The country's attractiveness to
foreign direct investment, despite significant progress in
the business environment, limited growth potential; iv. The
high fertility rates impede growth per capita and social
development beginning with human capital; v. Environmental
constraints limit the extensive growth of agriculture, while
food security is always a challenge for human development;
vi. The vulnerability of poor households prevents them from
truly engaging in productive economic activities; vii.
Constraints on institutional and human capacities reduce the
effectiveness of public policies. The first volume of the
Memorandum emphasizes the need for Burkina Faso to consider
the macroeconomic and microeconomic constraints to growth
and competitiveness, draws attention to the low
sophistication of its exports and suggests policy
instruments to facilitate the promotion of export and
investment led by the private sector. The second volume
emphasizes (i) the need for appropriate choices to ensure
the viability of the cotton sector, (ii) the development of
supply chains to achieve food security, growth and import
substitution, (iii) the important role in the mining sector
for growth, with good revenue management, and finally (iv)
the potential of tourism as an industry will depend on the
service quality improvements and the accommodation capacity
and infrastructure. The third volume identifies the actions
necessary to (i) address the issues of demographic change
through better information, education and communication
campaigns to bring about behavioral changes, (ii) develop
instruments of risk management to manage the risks of
economic, social, health, natural and food security, (iii)
improve the country's access to regional and
international markets, better connections to regional
transport infrastructure, electricity, and
telecommunications, water services and improved irrigation
systems, (iv) exploiting the financial intermediation by new
mechanisms of access to credit, reform the financial sector
and institutional capacity building in financial management
and risk in the business sector, and (v) create and use the
budget by prioritizing expenditures, ensuring the collection
of revenue and increasing the flow of aid.


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