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A Burkinabe woman shows off one of her goats in Burkina Faso
A Burkinabe woman shows off one of her goats in Burkina Faso
M. Corzine, USAID

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the increasingly unstable Sahel region, continues to experience high rates of poverty. Burkina Faso’s population is mostly rural and population growth is high.

Most residents of Burkina Faso rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. The country is prone to increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters such as drought, floods and climate-related pest invasions and diseases. Despite a push by the government to increase the availability of food, roughly 20 percent of the population of Burkina Faso remains food insecure.

Following the 2014 political uprising that saw the country’s president flee from power, USAID supported the country’s first free, fair and open democratic national elections in November 2015 and its municipal elections in May 2016. Burkina Faso is now working to build civil and democratic institutions to ensure a stable democracy.

Working with other United States Government bodies, USAID supports Burkina Faso’s efforts to confront the country’s greatest development challenges, including enhancing agricultural production, improving mother and child nutrition, reducing the burden of malaria and building vibrant civil and democratic institutions.

Enhancing Resilience: Agriculture and Food Security

USAID’s resilience programming in Burkina Faso addresses the underlying causes of vulnerability and risk, which lead to a cycle of humanitarian crisis and response whenever a climatic or other shock occurs. These development programs support Burkina Faso’s longer-term food security and agriculture development objectives, addressing the root causes of persistent vulnerability to help the Sahel’s most vulnerable people stay firmly on the path to development. These multi-year, multi-sectoral programs increase sustainable economic well-being through increased agricultural productivity, income diversification, and access to markets and financial services. USAID programs improve the nutritional status of women and children and increase the capacity of local governance structures, particularly in managing natural resources.  USAID is also working on improving the policy and regulatory environment for nationwide plans and implementation of the land tenure law.

Global Health

Despite some progress, the high level of poverty in Burkina Faso contributes to a dire health situation. Malnutrition and malaria are widespread, and many citizens have little or no access to basic health care or clean water. USAID’s primary focus in the health sector is on expanding the prevention of and treatment for malaria. USAID works closely with the Government of Burkina Faso to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria, primarily targeting the populations most vulnerable to this disease -- children under 5 years old and pregnant women. USAID’s efforts in the area of malnutrition focus on improving the health of pregnant women, lactating mothers and young children by providing education and training to women regarding feeding practices, and improving the quality of a family’s diet. Burkina Faso is also a phase one priority country for the US government’s role in supporting the Global Health Security Agenda, which seeks to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and to promote global health security as an international security priority.

Humanitarian Assistance

Rising insecurity, particularly in northern and eastern Burkina Faso, is driving population displacement.  As of March 2020, conflict had internally displaced more than 839,000 people, representing a more than ten-fold increase since January 2019, according to the UN.  Approximately 21,000 Malian refugees were also sheltering in northern Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region as of March, having fled instability in their home country.  USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) enables the UN World Food Program to provide food assistance to Malian refugees and Burkinabe internally displaced persons and host families through in-kind food distributions, cash-based transfers, and asset-building activities that strengthen livelihoods.  FFP also supports the UN Children’s Fund to purchase locally bought ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat severely malnourished children. 

Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

USAID works with Burkina Faso’s National Assembly to support new members in their representation, legislation and oversight functions. USAID also provides technical assistance to civil society organizations to promote better governance.   In addition, USAID works with youth, religious leaders, civil society and local governments to reduce the risk of instability and increase resilience to violent extremism. Using a holistic, community-led approach, USAID builds economic opportunities, promotes moderate voices, fosters civic participation and promotes government responsiveness. The target population in Burkina Faso is women and youth who are often marginalized from the political process and who are more prone to being recruited by violent extremist organizations.

Last updated: January 13, 2021

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