Burkina Faso flag Burkina Faso: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Burkina Faso

Foreign Trade in Figures

Burkina Faso is open to foreign trade, which represents 59% of the country’s GDP (World Bank, latest available data). As part of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso has regulated its tariff structure. Goods produced in the Union are exempt from import tax. However, internal and external crises (in neighboring Mali), as well as the actions of radical groups in the Sahel, have had a negative impact on trade and the industrial outlook. Gold is the greatest export (74.1% of total exports in 2022). Burkina Faso is one of the largest exporters of cotton in West Africa, and its production of cotton has quadrupled in the past ten years. However, the commodity has seen its share in the exports decrease from 15.8% of total exports in 2016 to 10.1% in 2021 (Comtrade). The country’s main imports are petroleum oils (32.3%), medicaments (3.7%), cement (3.1%), rice (2.5%), electrical energy (2.4%), and petroleum gas (2.3%).

Burkina Faso's main export partners are Switzerland (68.8%), Mali (6.7%), the United Arab Emirates (4.3%), Singapore (3.8%), Ivory Coast (3.7%), and France (2.1%); whereas imports come chiefly from China (12.9%), Ivory Coast (10.6%), France (9.3%), Russia (7.8%), and India (6.3% - data Comtrade for 2022).

Burkina Faso’s trade balance is structurally negative, but the trade deficit has been decreasing gradually over the past years due to increased gold and cotton exports and lower imports. After turning positive in 2020 and 2021, the trade balance recorded a deficit estimated at 1.4% of GDP in 2022 (World Bank). In the same year, the country exported USD 4.5 billion worth of goods, against USD 5.5 billion in imports; while services exports generated USD 495 million vis-à-vis USD 1.58 billion in imports (WTO).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,2844,1264,6145,5045,863
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,2394,3725,0434,5184,309
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,4611,2621,4161,582n/a
Exports of Services (million USD) 540509556495n/a

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 59.360.658.7n/an/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -52903661,3301,259
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -898-656-555577399
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 10.18.58.6n/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.515.2-1.9n/an/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.832.531.0n/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 26.528.127.6n/an/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -9.17.46.52.33.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.04.83.83.94.2

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
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).
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2023
Switzerland 67.6%
United Arab Emirates 8.5%
Mali 6.0%
Ivory Coast 3.0%
India 1.9%
See More Countries 13.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2023
Ivory Coast 13.9%
China 13.7%
Russia 8.9%
France 7.4%
Ghana 6.4%
See More Countries 49.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

4.6 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 73.9%
Cotton, neither carded nor combedCotton, neither carded nor combed 10.4%
Coconuts, Brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or...Coconuts, Brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled 3.2%
Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or...Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or not broken (excl. edible nuts, olives, soya beans, groundnuts, copra, linseed, rape or colza seeds and sunflower seeds) 2.6%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 1.8%
See More Products 8.1%
5.7 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 32.1%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.7%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 3.1%
RiceRice 2.5%
Electrical energyElectrical energy 2.4%
See More Products 56.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: April 2024