Country study Burkina Faso 


The economy of Burkina Faso rests mainly on biological diversity. Indeed, the key sectors for the development of the country (notably, agriculture, breeding, forestry, fisheries, wild fauna, tourism, pharmacopoeia, trade) call on biological diversity. Many other needs of the populations come from biological resources. For example, agro-pastoral production represents a bit more than 38% of the Gross Domestic Product of the country, employs 85% of the population and ensures 40% of export returns (OUEDRAOGO N. A., 1997).

Machines, vehicles, electric products, manufactured products, chemicals, oil products, cereals, dairy products, raw materials, lubricants, textiles Cotton, manufactured products, machines, livestock, vegetables, leather and hides, groundnuts, shea nuts
US $ : 552 US $ : 321
% of main suppliers % of main clients


The development of Burkina Faso essentially rests on biological diversity, in the sense that the primary sector is the main supplier of the gross domestic product (GDP). However, it must be admitted that data established concerning the degree of contribution of biological diversity to the economy of the country are below the realities and potentialities, because the biological resources remain very little evaluated and under-exploited. Table 27 presents the evolution of the contribution of this sector to the GDP from 1990 to 1995.

Table 27: Evolution of the primary sector's contribution to the GDP in % from 1990 to 1995

(Source : OUEDRAOGO N. A., 1997)

As indicated in this Table, the contribution of the primary sector to the GDP of Burkina Faso evolved during the concerned period. From 1960 to 1994 the GDP of the country evolved on an annual average of 1.1% (UNDP, 1997), what induced an appreciable rise of the per capita income. Table 28 presents the evolution of the per capita income by decade from 1960 to 1994.

In spite of this evolution, Burkina Faso is among the poorest countries of the world. According to the world report on human development (UNDP, 1997), poverty is understood as : insufficiency of income, bad conditions of health or education, lack of access to knowledge and possibilities of communication, impossibility to exercise some political rights and to assert human rights, absence of dignity, confidence and self respect, deterioration of the environment and impoverishment of the country. In the above cited report, detailed facts and figures on the level of development of Burkina Faso are provided. Table 29 presents some of these data by existing socio-economic development sectors. Appendix 4 gives the indicators used by the UNDP to determine the level of sustainable human development of countries.

Table 28: The evolution of the GDP in US $per capita by decade of 1960 to 1994

(Source : UNDP, 1997, World Report on the Lasting Human Development, p. 180.)

Table 29 : Level of development indicators by sector

Development sector Indicators of development
Decennial evolution of the GDP (in US $) per inhabitant (year/GDP) 1960/173 $ 1970/185 $ 1980/219 $ 1990/245 $ 1994/253 $
Access to goods and services Population with access to health services 1990-1995 : 90% Population with access to drinking water 1990-1996 : 78% Population with access to sewerage Rate of adult literacy in 1994 : 18.7% Gross rate of schooling 1992-1994 : 25%
Health  Population to physician ratio 1988-1991 : 33,333 : 1 Population by nurse 1988 Children vacinated against TB 1992-1995 : 78% Children vacinated against measles 1992-1995 : 55% Public health expenditure : 7% of GDP
Flow of resources Total external debt in % of the GDP in 1994 : 61% Public aid for development received, 1995 : 483 million US $  Public aid for development received, 1995 : 16.6% of GNP Public aid for development received, 1995 : 48 $ per inhabitant   % of imports compared to exports, 1994 : 37%


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