Burkina Faso is a low-income Sahelian country with limited natural resources. Its economy is largely based on agriculture, which employs 80% of the workforce, although gold exports have increased. The country faces many development challenges, particularly in terms of health and education. It ranks 144th among 157 countries in the new human capital index established by the World Bank and 40.1% of the population lives below the poverty line [1].  Real GDP grew by a mere 1.9% in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 shock.  Production levels in the primary sector have remained fairly high, thanks to subsistence crops and cotton.  The secondary sector, which sustained losses in early 2020, enjoyed a 25% year-on-year turnaround, supported by a sharp increase in gold mining.  The tertiary sector contracted by 5% in 2020, hard hit by temporary business closures and social distancing measures [1].


The evaluation of development policies today shows that rapid growth is not automatically a guarantee of job creation, poverty and inequality reduction, and improved access to basic socio-economic services.  The growth process must be oriented if it is to be inclusive and sustainable. At the environmental level, the orientation of the country's economic development towards sustainability requires the establishment of an incentive framework to improve the consideration by economic actors of their impacts on the environment and on the quality and availability of natural resources. The principles and tools of the green economy aim at such an objective [2].


Key policies and governance approach

The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP, 2014) Green Economy Pathfinder Report proposes a framework for green investments in Burkina Faso. Its objective is to stimulate growth, employment, environmental improvement, poverty eradication, and the promotion of social justice by encouraging investments in clean and efficient technologies, natural capital and social infrastructure. To meet these challenges, the government of Burkina Faso has based its actions on the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES) as well as the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development (SCADD, 2011-2015), the National Environmental Investment Plan for Sustainable Development (PNIEDD, 2014) , the National Sustainable Development Policy (PNDD), the Strategic Investment Framework for Sustainable Land Management and the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan [3].


Successes and remaining challenges

The path toward achieving green growth is multifaceted, requiring a clear understanding of this multi-sector issue over a long-term period. Furthermore, priorities vary amongst countries, and it is needed to identify the sectors in order to prioritize and evaluate the effects of investing in Green Economy [4]

The economy is expected to recover in 2021, growing at a projected rate of 6.7%, before falling to its medium-term potential rate of around 5.3%. Against a backdrop of uncertainty, the recovery is expected to be driven by the services sector, continuing high gold production levels, and stable performance of the agricultural sector [1].


Initiatives and Development Plans

Since 2016, Burkina Faso has opted for the “creation of 2,000 ecovillages” to ensure sustainable food and energy self-sufficiency in each ecovillage, while contributing to the fight against climate change and the preservation of the environment. This will serve the creation of a better quality of life, in the interest of all. The process of transforming existing villages into eco-villages should: (i) facilitate access to energy services in a sustainable manner and control of water for the benefit of rural populations; (ii) optimize the use of water resources;(iii) promote sustainable agriculture and improve food security; and (iv) create favorable conditions for income-generating activities [2].

Burkina Faso, in the framework of the PNDES, has defined its strategic objective as "improving the living environment, access to water, quality of sanitation and energy services". In order to achieve its ambitions, Burkina Faso will need to engage in an urban transformation that will support: (i) low-GHG emission strategies and actions by promoting renewable energy and low-carbon transport, (ii) the development of appropriate urban management and basic social infrastructure; and (iv) the development of bankable models that can attract private and public investment.


Goals and Ambitions

Under the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES), Burkina Faso aims to become a prosperous country through a structural and inclusive transformation of the national economy. To achieve this, economic diversification is addressed around four pillars, namely: (i) increase primary sector’s productivity by promoting higher value-added yields, (ii) facilitate the emergence of a modern economy based on industry and services, (iii) drive sustainable urbanization and (iv) accelerate demographic transition [2].

According to the Burkina Faso Green Growth Pathways 2019-2023 several are the strategic outcomes [2]:

  • Burkina Faso’s cities are climate-resilient, energy efficient, and low- carbon-driven.
  • Burkina Faso’s ecovillages are more inclusive and resilient, leading to enhanced adaptation to climate change and an adequate supply of ecosystem services ensures.
  • Green investment in energy, water & sanitation, and landscape sector leads to decreased GHG emissions and Increased green jobs




The government recognized the need for change and adopted a very ambitious development strategy, the National Economic and Social Development Plan, to make the country an emerging economy by 2020 through three Axis:

  • Axis 1: Reform the institutions and modernize the administration,
  • Axis 2: Develop human capital,
  • Axis 3: Stimulate sectors with growth potential for the economy and employment.