France and Burkina Faso historically have strong relations. France is Burkina Faso’s leading partner for development assistance.
Recent bilateral meetings
The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, travelled to Burkina Faso on 27-29 November 2018.
President Roch Kaboré was received on an official visit to Paris on 14 April 2017. He made his first visit to France in April 2016. He also travelled to Paris in December 2016 for the Partner Conference organized by his country and the World Bank.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited Ouagadougou on 16 March and 19 October 2018.
The Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry visited Paris for the Protecting Children from War conference on 21 February 2017, during which he also had a meeting with Jean-Marc Ayrault.
France is Burkina Faso’s second-largest supplier. Burkina Faso is home to around 40 French subsidiaries, estimated to provide over 3,000 direct jobs. In total, there are an estimated 100 French subsidiaries or interests in Burkina Faso (investments and/or management). The total stockpile of French foreign direct investment stood at €193.5 million in 2015. This covered industry, banks, insurance and construction (Sogea-Satom and the Bouygues Group). Orange is present in Burkina Faso following its buy-out of Airtel.
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
During the donor conference organized in Paris in December 2016, France confirmed its place as the leading partner with €461 million for the 2016-2020 period, an average of €92 million per year.
Burkina Faso is one of the 17 priority countries for development assistance from France.
In Burkina Faso, the focus is on sustainable development, human development, agriculture and food security, governance and cultural cooperation.
Within this framework, rural society is a priority for the Agence française de développement (AFD) with €42 million of ongoing projects. The country is also a pioneer in agroecology.
Expertise France is leading some 10 projects in Burkina Faso financed by France and the European Union. Expertise France’s work aims to build the capacities of Burkina Faso’s public administrations, civil society and private sector.
France is the leading foreign destination for students from Burkina Faso (1,700 in 2017). It is providing €0.6 million in bursaries for Burkinabe students.
French civil society is also working to help Burkina Faso with 800 international solidarity volunteers present every year.
Burkina Faso is home to two Institut Français branches, in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
The Lycée Saint-Exupéry in Ouagadougou educates 1,065 students from 3 to 18 years old.
Research and technical cooperation institutes in Burkina Faso are highly active with around 40 university agreements, and stakeholders such as the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and French Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS), with nearly €5 million in projects per year.
Decentralized cooperation is among the most dynamic of French local authorities with 180 active partnerships and nearly €5 million in co-funding per year.
In view of the security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara region and Burkinabe involvement in peacekeeping operations, there is extensive security and defence cooperation between France and Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso hosts two regionally-oriented national schools financed by French cooperation, which take in trainees from third countries: ISEPC, the higher education institute for civil protection, and EMTO, the technical military academy.
In the framework of Operation Barkhane, which was launched in August 2014, France has a base of operations in Ouagadougou. It is supporting the ramp-up of the Burkinabe division of the G5 Sahel joint force.
Updated: 15 December 2018