Burkina Faso

Switzerland focuses on three priority areas to help combat poverty in Burkina Faso: governance and democracy, basic education and vocational skills development (VSD), and local economic development. Switzerland has been providing humanitarian aid to the country's most vulnerable communities since 2019. 

Map of Burkina Faso

Despite fairly sustained economic growth (6.9% in 2021), driven by gold and cotton exports, Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest and most fragile countries in the world. Most of the population live in rural areas, with families relying on subsistence farming, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Since 2020, violence linked to extremist groups has increased significantly, which has further weakened the country and undermined trust between citizens and the state. In October 2022, Burkina Faso experienced its second military coup, just nine months after the previous one in January. A 24-month transition period is now under way, which is due to end once elections have been held in mid-2024.  

Against this backdrop of growing insecurity, Switzerland is working to maintain development gains, reduce suffering and facilitate conflict transformation. Activities currently focus on governance and democracy, basic education and vocational skills development, and economic development. 

Governance and democracy

A democratic state governed by the rule of law and public governance for the people

Switzerland is engaged in local capacity building on the issues of governance, decentralisation and citizenship. It supports the development and management of market facilities, water supply systems and infrastructure to improve access, as well as fostering sustainable and high quality public services. Over the past four years, Swiss support has resulted in 221 major infrastructure projects benefiting around 2 million people and in the development of a local labour force, including 20,000 people to build rural roads.

Switzerland also promotes dialogue between civil society and the authorities. Its support for local media (including 25 community radio stations covering 75% of Burkina Faso's territory) strengthens the production and dissemination of reliable and credible information.

Good governance

Basic education and vocational training

A high quality education and training system for all

Switzerland contributes to a number of initiatives aiming to improve the quality of education through:

  • Teacher training,
  • Developing teaching materials,
  • Creating alternatives to formal schooling for children and young adults who have not been able to access the education system,
  • Providing VSD (in collaboration with professional associations, the private sector and regional public services),
  • Enabling children displaced by insecurity to continue their education in school.

Swiss support over the last four years has meant that 15,000 pupils (50% girls) forced to interrupt their schooling were able to continue basic education and VSD in agriculture, forestry and livestock. Since 2017, it has also ensured schooling in a safe environment for around 875,000 children facing insecurity and forced to leave their villages.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Local economic development

A local economy that improves food security and fosters jobs and earning opportunities

Switzerland supports modernising family farms to improve income-earning opportunities for farmers and create jobs, particularly for women and young people, in the following sectors: 

  • Market gardening,
  • Rice growing,
  • Livestock sectors and livestock products,
  • Non-timber forest products such as fruits, seeds and leaves.

Better production, processing and marketing of agricultural products improves the profitability of smallholder farms and strengthens food security. In four years, Swiss support has improved the earning capacities of nearly 625,000 economically active persons (60% women).

Its support for farmers' organisations has also helped bolster their negotiating skills and enabled them to influence national policies. 

Agriculture and food security

Private sector development and financial services

Approach and partners

Switzerland has been present in Burkina Faso since 1974 via the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has been providing general budgetary support and technical assistance for the government's economic efforts since 1994. To effectively address the challenges facing Burkina Faso, Switzerland combines humanitarian interventions, development programmes and peacebuilding and violence prevention in a coherent manner.

The 2021–25 cooperation programme is implemented via partnerships with government institutions, local and international NGOs and other bilateral and multilateral partners. 

Current projects

Object 13 – 15 of 15

General Budget Support to Burkina Faso (2017-2020)

01.01.2017 - 01.01.2020

SECO is a long-standing partner of Burkina Faso in terms of general budget support. The aid is accompanied by targeted technical assistance. Together with other donors, SECO will support full implementation of the new National Economic and Social Development Plan with a budget support grant in the amount of CHF 30 million for the period 2017-2020.

Technical assistance for the Tax Administration Burkina Faso, Phase II

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2021

Burkina Faso is fighting against poverty and social inequality. Increased transparency and better domestic revenue mobilization help in dealing with those challenges. Additional resources – coming from a more efficient tax administration – allow the country to develop further while reducing external dependence. SECO funded a first phase of the project to the Central Tax Administration (2009-2014). The encouraging results obtained, also with regard to the fight against corruption, have allowed planning for a second phase to ensure sustainability of the progress made. Many crucial lessons have been learned. This allows to tackle this project with confidence in a context of political renewal and economic challenges in Burkina Faso.

General Budget Support to Burkina Faso (2013-2016)

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2016

Switzerland contributes to the General Budget Support operation in Burkina Faso with maximum amount of CHF 32 million for a period of three years (2013-2016). Budget Support fosters the implementation of the economic reforms defined in the Poverty Reduction Strategy ("Stratégie de croissance accélérée et de développement durable", SCADD) of Burkina Faso and accompanies sound macroeconomic policies for sustainable and inclusive economic development.

Object 13 – 15 of 15