Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso and the EU

10/05/2016 - 13:48
EU relations with Country

Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Burkina Faso has continued to strengthen in recent decades. Its aims are ambitious in terms of economic and social development, and political stability.

The EU's relations with Burkina Faso date back to 1959. Burkina Faso is a key strategic partner for the EU in a region marked for several years now by increased illegal trafficking and terrorism in neighbouring countries and by regional stability in need of strengthening. As a result, much attention is focused on strengthening relations between the EU and Burkina Faso, and regionally with the West African area — West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The EU therefore plays an active role in international and regional political action such as the GISAT-BF (International Follow-up and Support Group for the Transition in Burkina Faso), the G5 Sahel in the area of fighting terrorism in the West African region, etc.

The EU and its countries actively support Burkina Faso and follow its political, economic and social progress with interest, so that they can assist the country in its overall development, and also be in a position to anticipate potential crisis situations, as was the case in 2014 (popular uprising). The EU is also present during crisis situations, as in 2015 (failed coup of 15 September) and 2016 (terrorist attacks in January 2016).  In such cases, the EU and its countries work towards helping the country get back to a normal situation. The EU actively supported the transition period, the electoral process in 2015 and 2016 (this support taking the form of different activities), etc.  

Relations between Burkina Faso and EU countries are primarily governed by the Treaty of Lisbon and the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.

They are backed by regular political dialogue, as provided for in Article 8 of the Cotonou ACP-EU Partnership Agreement. This political dialogue addresses the different aspects of development, including policies on peace-building, security, conflict prevention and resolution, regional cooperation, respect for human rights, democratic principles based on the rule of law and open and responsible management of public affairs, etc. Since 2009, this political dialogue has taken place twice a year in Burkina Faso, and brings together the government of Burkina Faso and the EU's diplomatic heads of mission.                                                                                           

A major part of the EU funding is allocated to governance in support of the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development (SCADD) for Burkina Faso, the promotion of good governance in its different aspects, the rule of law, and democratic, financial and local governance.  

The EU's relations with the African continent are based on mutual respect and solidarity. Through dialogue and a multifaceted partnership, they aim to improve the well-being of citizens, basing the relations on good governance and the rule of law and maximising the results of trade and investment as ways of reducing poverty and promoting economic and social development (conclusions of the Fourth EU-Africa Summit for Heads of State and Government, 2-3 April 2014, Brussels). 

The EU's vision for its relations with Africa was set out by the head of European diplomacy, Ms Mogherini, in her address to the African Union, in Addis Ababa, in autumn 2015.

The partnership between the EU and Africa is based on two key instruments: the Cotonou Agreement which sets out the conditions for development cooperation between the EU and ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries and a continental mechanism called the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The EU-Africa partnership recommends an innovative and ambitious approach in all areas of common interest, based on the principle of political equality between partners, but also taking into account structural differences as well as differences in the level of development which call for adapted solutions in certain cases.

In terms of trade and investments, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the regions of Africa and the EU is a stable, secure and forward-looking long-term partnership aimed at firstly supporting countries in their objectives of integrating into the global economy and secondly promoting inclusive and sustainable development. The EPA will help African businesses import quality items at a lower cost, acquire new technologies, attract investments and export better through greater competitiveness, and access the European market without customs duties or quotas.

The EPA will help African consumers by improving the choice of products and reducing prices. To gain from these benefits, the EU works with African countries through common agreement in order to bring about a greater understanding of the Agreement as well as assistance through reforms and measures to improve national and regional economic governance.

Trade between the EU and Burkina Faso

Commercial trade between the EU's 28 countries and Burkina Faso is still unfortunately somewhat limited. Overall, in 2010, ACP countries represented 4.7 % of the EU's foreign trade, equivalent to some €134 billion (export and import). The total volume of imports and exports with Burkina Faso in 2010 only came to €526.5 million.

Similarly, the EU remains the main trade partner for Burkina Faso, accounting for more than 32 % of its foreign trade. 

The EU's regional strategy in West Africa

In Burkina Faso, the EU Delegation is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Regional Indicative Programme, which aims to strengthen regional integration notably by boosting trade relations between countries in the sub-region and between the EU and the sub-region. This should enable the West African region (WAEMU and ECOWAS) to increase its trading activities in the region and to be competitive in global trade. The smooth integration of West African countries into the global economy is in fact a major priority on the regional agenda. To succeed in this, the region's economies need to be structurally transformed through increased investments and effective implementation of national and regional macro-economic and sectoral policies.

WAEMU and ECOWAS must therefore build a well integrated and active political, economic and social zone in order to address the challenges of globalisation.

The introduction of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) meets this challenge. Furthermore, support for infrastructure, agricultural policies, an integrated legal system, competitiveness, facilitating exchanges, and the business environment, forms part of the work undertaken by the EU in a bid to strengthen commercial trade in the region and with the wider world.

Locally, several initiatives are being undertaken by the EU Delegation to Burkina Faso with a view to promoting commercial trade and investments:

  • Creation of a group of trade and investment advisers (GCCI) to develop economy-development synergies.

The aim of this group is to enable exchanges between private operators, Burkina Faso leaders and development partners regarding the business environment and the conditions for investing and trading in Burkina Faso and the region.

  • Set-up of an advisory working group (GTC) for trade and investment opportunities with/in the EU.

This technical support group aims to help relevant authorities and business operators better exploit the market of the 28 EU countries.

The Export Helpdesk is an online service set up by the European Commission to facilitate access, especially for those in developing countries, to the EU's markets. This free and easy-to-use service provides all the information needed by exporters interested in supplying the EU market.

ECHO in brief

In Burkina Faso, the European Commission's humanitarian aid service is represented by an office and staff responsible for monitoring projects and the situation in the country. The office is located within the EU Delegation in Ouagadougou and is assisted from time to time by the Regional Office of Dakar, in specific technical fields (nutrition, health, food assistance, water and sanitation, etc.). In 2016, ECHO is continuing its funding for projects in the areas of health, nutrition, food security and support for refugees and dealing with other humanitarian crises. In 2015, ECHO set up projects in Burkina Faso totalling €17.325 million. For 2016, €14.5 million has already been allocated. 

ECHO's strategy for combating malnutrition was introduced in 2005 in the Sahel, following the serious food crisis in Niger. Since then, ECHO has been committed to fighting this scourge in other countries in the sub-region with the highest malnutrition rates, exceeding the alert thresholds of 10 % of children under 5 years of age and sometimes the emergency thresholds of 15 %: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Nigeria and north Togo. The EU has allocated €200 million for humanitarian aid in Burkina Faso since 2007. 

ECHO has helped intensify efforts to care for children suffering from severe malnutrition, with 127 000 children looked after in 2014. In Burkina Faso, this help also aims to reduce malnutrition rates over the long term throughout all Sahel countries. Apart from curative care, ECHO funds malnutrition prevention activities including through a range of community actions such as testing, cooking advice and social welfare. Major efforts are also undertaken to promote access to healthcare for the most vulnerable, by funding subsidies for caring for children under 5 years of age as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. In a bid to break the vicious cycle of food crises, the EU strives to tie in its emergency humanitarian aid with its development aid. It has notably been a driving force behind the creation of AGIR, a global alliance including 17 countries from West Africa, sponsors and the aid community, the goal being to end hunger in the region by 2032.       


Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso

Avenue Kwamé N'Krumah, 1500 
01 BP 352 Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso

Tel.: +226 25 49 29 00
Fax: +226 25 49 29 99


Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
European Commission

Regional Office for West Africa
BP 3345 Dakar, Senegal
Tel.: +221 33 869 80 00
Fax.: +221 33 820 93 75

Cooperation between the EU and Burkina Faso has continued to strengthen over recent decades. The following ambitious objectives are being set in accordance with Article 1 of the Cotonou ACP-EU Partnership Agreement:

  • economic and social development;
  • smooth and gradual integration of the country into the global economy;
  • poverty reduction as part of sustainable development, in accordance with international goals, notably taking account of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cooperation between the EU and Burkina Faso works towards achieving these objectives, at the same time enhancing its effectiveness by focusing on the following:

  • The country and citizens taking ownership of the strategy;
  • Progress towards providing this help in accordance with national procedures and the national budget. As such, under the 11th EDF, a large portion of the aid is provided in the form of budget support;
  • Improvement in the coordination and harmonisation of the aid provided by the different donors.

Sectors where Europe intervenes in Burkina Faso

  • General budget support
  • Good governance
  • Support for the health sector
  • Rural development, and food and nutrition security
  • Water and sanitation
  • Fight against climate change
  • Strengthening the infrastructure / transport sector
  • Humanitarian aid

The EU believes that a combination of as many aspects of society as possible is vital for sustainable development.

As such, civil society (Non-State Actors (NSAs), namely associations, NGOs, unions, private sector, etc.) is seen as a critical player in development, as it is close to citizens and their needs.

The ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement therefore provides for the growing involvement of NSAs from ACP countries in the development process. In Burkina Faso, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are becoming increasingly involved in monitoring public policies, both national and more widely regional.   

Against this background, the EU has been supporting civil society in Burkina Faso for several years now, with a view to in particular strengthening its capacities (developing structures, benefiting from experiences and good practices, consultation between CSOs and with the decentralised or regional government, etc. and consultation among CSOs themselves, etc.). The CSOs also take part in programmes covering the different priority sectors that the EU supports through the sectors it focuses on (food security, environment protection, access to drinking water, promotion of human rights, support for an open electoral process, etc.).

Throughout the 2014-2020 period (11th EDF), the EU is providing support to Burkina Faso's civil society through the three sectors of focus in the National Indicative Programme (governance; health; food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and water), in an indicative amount of FCFA 13.7 billion (€21 million), at all times ensuring that the support given is consistent and complementary.

Visit the Civil society helpdesk — CISOCH website to, among other things, share good practices in civil society dialogue. 

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