Political situation A new democratic beginning overshadowed by violence

For 27 years, from 1987 to 2014, Burkina Faso was governed by President Blaise Compaoré. His attempt to secure a further term in office through a constitutional amendment triggered such fierce protests in 2014 that he finally stepped down. Since then, Burkina Faso has made marked progress in developing democracy and the rule of law.

Traffic in Ouagadougou

Traffic in Ouagadougou

Traffic in Ouagadougou

The presidential election held in 2015 was deemed to have been free and fair. It was won by Roch Kaboré. He was re-elected for a further term in 2020. However, because of the precarious security situation, not all voters were able to go to the polling stations.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has experienced a growing number of terrorist attacks by Islamist groups. The attacks have so far claimed more than 2,000 lives. By the second half of 2021, some 1.4 million people had been internally displaced by the violence. Particularly hard hit by the attacks and the resulting humanitarian crisis are the rural areas in the north and east of the country near the borders with Mali and Niger (countries that are also severely affected by Islamist terrorism). However, there have also been an increasing number of attacks in the south-west – the area of the country where, along with the east, most of Germany's development projects are located.

Despite both political and military efforts to end the violence, as well as high levels of investment in the security sector, the situation has so far not improved. Burkina Faso's state authorities are too weak to control the border regions and to ensure the safety and meet the basic needs of the population there (see also section on Social situation). The Islamist groups are making calculated use of people's growing dissatisfaction with the political and economic situation and their dwindling trust in the state in order to widen their own sphere of influence and win new followers.

Development orientation

The government of Burkina Faso is pursuing development-oriented policies. It is committed to achieving the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union's Agenda 2063. The government wants to modernise the administration, reform the justice system, make better use of the economic potential of the country's very young population, create jobs and develop the private sector.

The rising bill for security measures, however, means that funding for other budget items is being cut. The cuts particularly affect the health sector: it now lacks money urgently needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burkina Faso’s development is also being hampered by the country's rapid population growth and a crisis-prone economy (see also section on Economic situation).

Promoting regional integration

Burkina Faso is actively engaged in efforts to bring about political and economic integration in Africa. It is a member of a number of regional organisations, including the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Burkina Faso is also a founding member of the “G5 du Sahel” regional alliance, together with Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. In 2017, Germany, France and the European Union founded the Sahel Alliance with a view to supporting the G5.