2011 Investment Climate Statement
Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
March 2011
Report

Overview of Foreign Investment Climate

The Government of Burkina Faso (GOBF) wishes to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and has been most successful in the mining sector. In 2010, the GOBF revised its 1995 Investment Code to encourage new FDI, boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and help diversify its economy, which is currently based heavily on subsistence agriculture and cotton production for world markets. The new laws adding to and revising the Investment Code include laws number: 004-2010/AN, 005-2010/AN, 006-2010/AN, 007-2010/AN and 008-2010/AN and can be found in their entirety at www.legiburkina.bf.

The Investment Code provides standardized guaranties to all legally established firms, whether foreign or domestic, operating in Burkina Faso. It contains four investment and operations preference schemes, which are equally applicable to all greenfield investments, mergers, and acquisitions. With each scheme, there is a corresponding set of related preferences, duty exceptions, corporate tax exemptions, and operation-related taxes. Burkina Faso recognizes most forms of companies admissible under French business law, including: public corporations, limited liability companies, limited share partnerships, sole proprietorships, subsidiaries, and affiliates of foreign enterprises. According to the revised Investment Code, all personal and legal entities lawfully established in Burkina Faso, both local and foreign, are entitled to the following rights: fixed property, forest and industrial rights; concessions; administrative authorizations; access to permits; and participation in state contracts.

The construction of a new international airport in Ouagadougou, at a cost of $916 million, is being proposed by the Government of Burkina Faso. Several financial partners, including the World Bank, AfDB, the African Development Bank, BADEA, the Islamic Development Bank, and others have expressed an interest in financing the new international airport. The aim is to turn landlocked Burkina Faso into a regional hub for air transport.

Reflecting the growth and importance of the mining sector, the Government of Burkina Faso revising its 2003 mining code to better capitalize on its mineral resources and create a more favorable climate for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the mining industry. To further improve the business climate in Burkina Faso, the government is working with the World Bank to reduce the time required to meet all formalities in bankruptcy cases.

The government continues to improve its newly developed Enterprise Registration Centers (Centres de Formalites des Entreprises) (CEFORE) by simplifying registration formalities and eliminating obstacles to opening a business. In addition to Ouagadougou, there are CEFOREs located in Ouahihouya, Tenkodogo, Koudougou, Fada N’Gourma and Gaoua. This one-stop shop for company registration has cut registration time to 14 days and the number of procedures to 4.

In May 2008, Burkina Faso launched the Centre for Facilitating Acts of Building (CEFAC) to improve the construction permitting process. The CEFAC has made it possible to obtain everything needed to begin construction from one place, in a shortened time, 30 days, and at a lower cost. A construction permit for a one-story commercial building is approximately $370 and for a two-story building the permit cost is roughly $430.

In the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Doing Business 2011 report, Burkina Faso now ranks 151 out 183 countries, up from 154 in 2010, 155 in 2009 and 164 in 2008. This continuous improvement reflects the country's successful efforts to create an environment conducive to business growth.

Burkina Faso does not have a local stock exchange.

GOBF announcements for privatization bids are widely distributed, targeting both local and foreign investors. Bids are published in local papers, international magazines, mailed to different diplomatic missions, e-mailed to interested foreign investors, and published on the Internet on sites such as http://www.tradepoint.bf/ and http://www.dgmarket.com/. Foreign investors receive the same treatment and timetable as local investors in the bidding process. Bidding criteria, which are established and enforced by the Autorite de Regulation des Marches Publics (ARMP) (Government Tenders Regulation Authority), are clear and the process is transparent. Bid requirements are the same for all bidders. Established in July 2008, ARMP aims to ensure free access to government tenders, equality in the bidding process, and transparency of procedures.

There are no laws or regulations specifically authorizing private firms to adopt articles of incorporation or association, which limit or prohibit foreign investment, participation, or control.

If a scroll bar appears below the following table, swipe the table to move left/right of the dashed line.

Measure

Year

Index/Ranking

TI Corruption Index

2010

98 out of 178

Heritage Economic Freedom

2011

85 out of 183

World Bank Doing Business

2011

151 out of 183

MCC Gov’t Effectiveness

2011

74 percent

MCC Rule of Law

2011

92 percent

MCC Control of Corruption

2011

81 percent

MCC Fiscal Policy

2011

15 percent

MCC Trade Policy

2011

78 percent

MCC Regulatory Quality

2011

97 percent

MCC Business Start Up

2011

68 percent

MCC Land Rights Access

2011

41 percent

MCC Natural Resource Mgmt

2011

41 percent

Conversion and Transfer Policies

Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (WAEMU), the currency of which is the CFA franc, or CFA. The CFA is freely convertible into Euros at a fixed rate of 655.957 CFA to 1 EURO. Membership in WAEMU allows the CFA to be freely used between all member countries. WAEMU countries include: Senegal, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso's Investment Code guarantees foreign investors the right to the overseas transfer of any funds associated with an investment, including dividends, receipts from liquidation, assets, and salaries. Such transfers are authorized in the original currency of the investment. Once the interested party presents the request for transfer, accompanied by all relevant bank documents, Burkinabe banks transfer the funds directly to the recipient banking institution. The GOBF is not expected in the foreseeable future to change its current remittance policy concerning purchasing foreign currency in order to repatriate profits or other earnings. Foreign exchange is readily available at all banks and most hotels in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second largest city and economic capital.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Burkinabe constitution guarantees basic property rights. These rights cannot be infringed upon except in the case of public necessity, as defined by the government. The government reserves the right to expropriate land at any time for public use. In instances where property is expropriated, the government must compensate the property holder in advance, except in the event of an emergency. This has rarely occurred.

Dispute Settlement

The Civil Code provides legal language that works to protect property and contractual rights. Judgments from foreign courts are accepted and enforced by local courts. It should be noted, however, that the World Bank ranked Burkina Faso as 108th in the world for its ability to enforce contracts because fees, number of required procedures, and the amount of time needed to resolve disputes are all abnormally high.

Burkina Faso's 1995 Code of Commerce contains all applied commercial law used by the Burkinabe business community. There are specialized commercial chambers in the general courts and the fee to register judicial decisions was removed in 2010. Burkina Faso also has an Arbitration and Commercial Dispute Resolution Center (Centre d'Arbitrage et de Reglement des Litiges Commerciaux) under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Burkina Faso is a party to the Washington Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and recommends arbitration procedures in its Investment Code. Burkinabe courts accept international arbitration as a means for settling investment disputes between private parties. Longstanding disputes that remain unresolved after administrative jurisdictional hearings are required to be submitted to arbitration. Burkinabe courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.

In the event that an amicable settlement of a dispute between the government and an investor cannot be reached, the Investment Code requires that arbitration procedures be submitted to international arbitration under the rules outlined by the 1965 Convention of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). In cases where the enterprise of a national does not meet nationality conditions stipulated by article 25 of the Convention, the Code specifies that the dispute be resolved in accordance with the dispositions of the supplementary mechanisms approved by ICSID in September 1978.

Performance Requirements/Incentives

All investment-specific incentives are outlined in the revised Investment Code. For example, new firms with investment greater than or equal to one hundred million francs CFA (USD 200,000) and less than 500 million CFA (USD 1 million) pay a customs duty of 5% on operational equipment and the first batch of spare parts. The new company is exempt from value added tax on value added due on such equipment. In addition to the above advantages, a company whose investment is from USD 1 – 2 billion and creates at least thirty jobs can benefit from other advantages.

The GOBF does not require investors to purchase materials from local sources or to export a certain percentage of output. Foreign investors’ access to foreign exchange is not limited to their level of exports. The GOBF does not impose "offset" requirements, which dictate that major procurements are approved only if the foreign supplier invests in Burkinabe manufacturing, research and development, or service facilities in areas related to the items being procured.

In 2008, Burkina Faso reduced property registration fees to 10 percent of the property value.

The government generally encourages companies to hire Burkinabe employees. But this is not a requirement. Citizens of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries can legally work in Burkina Faso. Other nationalities can also legally work in Burkina Faso, but require employment visas/permits.

Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

The rights of foreign and domestic private entities to establish and own enterprises, and engage in all forms of remunerative activities, are guaranteed by the constitution and the Investment Code. Businesses can be freely established and sold. Most public enterprises have enjoyed a monopoly in their markets. Foreign investors are encouraged to participate in the privatization of state-run enterprises.

The Burkinabe constitution guarantees basic property rights. These rights cannot be infringed upon except in the case of public necessity, as defined by the government. The government reserves the right to expropriate land at any time for public use. In instances where property is expropriated, the government must compensate the property holder in advance, except in the event of an emergency. This has rarely occurred.

The state may cede full ownership of rights of land to private operators upon application and payment. Once land is titled and in private hands, it enters the market and can be freely bought, sold and leased. However the reality is that Burkina Faso’s land market is just emerging. There is some circulation of rights to land through cash-based transactions, but these rarely involve a clear transfer of rights. Furthermore, registering a property transaction with the state is an expensive and arduous process, requiring six procedures, taking 136 days and costing 11% of the property value. Nevertheless, lease options are available as granted by the state, including for agribusinesses, for periods up to 99 years.

A new rural land management law, 034-2009/AN, was adopted on June 16, 2009. The goals of the new law include: (1) ensuring equitable access to rural land; (2) promoting investments in agriculture, forestry and pastoralism in Burkina; (3) reducing poverty in rural areas; and (4) promoting sustainable management of natural resources. The new Rural Land Tenure Law is meant to protect property rights, prevent and manage land conflicts, and build a framework for ensuring rural land tenure security. Among other features, the 2009 laws enables legal recognition of individual and collective land rights—rights that have been largely held through customary means--through certificates of rural land possession issued at the local level. However, institutional capacity to fully implement the law will take time to develop.

This 2009 law is a sectoral law that falls under the framework Réorganisation Agraire et Foncière (RAF) law. Revisions to the RAF law have been developed, and are expected to be submitted to Parliament for passage this year. The expectation is that the revised RAF will establish a more appropriate legal and institutional enabling environment for implementation of Law 034-2009/AN.

Burkina Faso has signed a Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which entered into force in August 2009. The five-year agreement includes the Rural Land Governance Project, which represents an investment in improving land tenure security in Burkina Faso. The project includes three major activities: (1) legal and procedural change and communications; (2) institutional development and capacity-building of land tenure institutions; and (3) site-specific land tenure interventions in targeted areas of the country. These activities aim to: make land legislation and administration procedures more user-friendly and accessible; improve public land services in rural areas; and facilitate participatory land-use management, registration of land rights, and resolution of conflict.

Protection of Property Rights

In Burkina Faso, protection of property rights continues to be a challenge. According to the International Property Rights Index for 2010, Burkina Faso scores 4.6 points and is 75th out of 125 countries in the world on international property rights issues overall. In comparison, Burkina Faso scored 5.1 points and was 59th out of 115 countries in the world in 2008’s report. The government recognizes interests in property, both movable and fixed, and has adopted international, regional, and local laws that work to protect property. In practice, however, government enforcement of intellectual property law is lax. Despite government efforts, counterfeited goods can readily be found and purchased on the street in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.

As a member of ECOWAS, Burkina Faso adheres to the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). This 1993 treaty created an intergovernmental organization to encourage foreign investment and economic development in the 16 member states that have ratified it. The treaty creates institutions that harmonize laws for contracts, businesses, securities, and bankruptcies; it also established a Common Court of Justice and Arbitrage based in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Since its inception, it has adopted several uniform acts including an act relating to commercial law that entered into force in 1998.

Legal protection exists for intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and semiconductor chip design. The government of Burkina Faso has issued a number of decrees and decisions to protect other forms of property. These decrees include: Decree No 2000-577 on the collection and remuneration for duplication of works set on graphic or similar supports; Decree No 2000-143 Creating the Bureau Burkinabe on Copyrights (BBDA); Decree No 2001-259 setting up and organizing the National Committee for the Fight against Piracy of Literacy and Artistic Works; Decision No 01-052 Rates of Fees for Use of Protected Literary and Artistic Works; Decision No 01-053 on the Collection of Payment for Rights; Decision No 01-50 on Stamping Disks, Audio and Video Cassettes that contain Literary and Artistic Works; Decision on Protection Modalities for Delivering Import Visas on Literacy, Artistic Works, and Bank Supports.

Burkina Faso has a legal system that protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of all property rights, including intellectual property. Burkina Faso is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO). The national investment code guarantees foreign investors the same rights and protection as Burkinabe enterprises for trademarks, patent rights, labels, copyrights, and licenses.

In 1999, the government ratified both the WIPO Copyrights Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). In 2002, Burkina Faso was one of 30 countries that put the WCT and WPPT treaties into force.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Government of Burkina Faso uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition. The government believes that cartels, the abuse of a position of superiority, restrictive practices, refusal to sell to consumers, discriminatory practices, unauthorized sales, and selling at a loss are practices that distort free competition.

Although some price controls have been lifted, the price of oil, essential generic drugs, tobacco, cotton, school supplies, water, electricity, and telecommunications are still regulated by the government.

The government does not use tax, labor, environmental, health and safety standards, or other laws and policies to impede entrance of foreign investors into the marketplace. In 2010, Burkina Faso adopted law No 005-2010/AN which replaces and somewhat simplifies the complex tax schedule.

Non-IBICA profits are taxed 27.5 percent. Private sector employees and civil servants pay a tax (IUTS) on salaries and tips, usually by payroll deduction.

Informal regulatory processes managed by non-governmental organizations or private sector associations are rarely found. Generally, an administrative committee comprised of experts, civil

society, and various government officials reviews drafts of laws before the National Assembly adopts them or makes changes to existing laws.

Burkina Faso's legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms. It adheres to the West African Economic and Monetary Union's accounting system, (Systeme Comptable Ouest Africain or SYSCOA). SYSCOA complies with international norms in force and is a source of economic and financial data.

Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The traditional banking sector is composed of eleven commercial banks and three specialized credit institutions called, Etablissements Financiers. These include 14 banks and institutions: the Banque Internationale pour le Commerce, l'Industrie et l'Agriculture du Burkina Faso (BICIA-B), the Banque Internationale du Burkina (BIB) owned by the United Bank of Africa (UBA,), the Societe Generale de Banques du Burkina (SGBB), the Banque Commerciale du Burkina (Arabo-Libyan), (BCB), the Banque Agricole et Commerciale du Burkina (BACB) owned by Ecobank,), Ecobank, Bank of Africa, Banque Sahelo-Sahelienne pour l'Investissement et le Commerce (BSIC), Coris Banque International, and Banque Atlantique.

Competition from State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)

Private enterprises are allowed to compete with public enterprises with the same terms and conditions. The bidding process is considered to be open and fair.

The Government of Burkina Faso has decided to remove many of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs or strategic companies) from the privatization process. SOEs exist in four primary areas: service providers, commercial enterprises, enterprises of a specific nature and social security. The primary SOEs are in the areas of: oil importing (SONABHY), water (ONEA), lottery (LONAB), mining (BUMIGEB), mail (SONAPOST), rail equipment (SOPAFER-B), electricity (SONABEL), and social security benefits (CNSS).

Each SOE has a board of directors that is appointed by the government. Each SOE also has a parent ministry. For example, CNSS, the SOE concerned with social security benefits, is under Ministry of Labor. The most powerful SOE is SONABHY, petroleum importing, and the board is appointed by the President. Board members of the additional SOEs are primarily appointed by the Minister of the appropriate ministry. Every year, all of the SOEs meet to report to the Prime Minister. While this meeting is covered in the press and general numbers are publicly available, detailed SOE budgets are not.

Burkina Faso does not have a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Political Violence

Burkina Faso continues to undergo a peaceful democratization and decentralization process under the leadership of President Blaise Compaore, who has been in office since 1987 and part of the ruling cadre since 1984. The governing party, the CDP, claims populist ideals but calls for free enterprise on the economic front. Opposition to the CDP remains severely fragmented and weak.

Burkina's commercial viability is closely linked to the stability of its neighbors. The ports of Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) and Lome (Togo) serve as key shipping points for Burkina's imports/exports, with Lome growing in importance since unrest in Cote d'Ivoire in 2002 and again in 2010. City ports like Cotonou (Benin) and Tema (Ghana) have also become increasingly important as alternative transshipment points for Burkinabe goods.

Corruption

Although Burkina Faso means "land of the honest men," Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that corruption is still a problem. The main challenges the country currently faces are poor access to information, a weak judiciary, limited enforcement powers of

anti-corruption institutions, misappropriation of public funds, and lack of an effective separation of powers. Civil servants who most commonly engage in corruption include: members of the police force and gendarmerie, customs officials, political groups, justice officials, healthcare workers, educators, tax collectors, and the media.

In January 2011, President Blaise Compaore created a new state ministry to undertake political reforms. As of January 2011, the new ministry’s mission has not been defined but it could impact the country’s economic conditions.

In January 2008, the government established a new 11-member Gold Anti-fraud Squad (BNAF) to regulate gold marketing and curb fraud cases.

In April 2008, the GOBF created the Autorite de Regulation des Marches Publics (ARMP), a regulatory oversight body to ensure transparency in the bidding process by monitoring the execution of all government contracts. The ARMP is vested with the authority to impose sanctions, initiate lawsuits, and publish the names of fraudulent or delinquent businesses. It also educates communities benefiting from public investment monies to take a more active part in monitoring contractors.

In November 2007 the government created the Superior Authority of State Control (ASCE), under the authority of the prime minister. In addition to releasing annual reports from auditing entities, ASCE has the authority to prosecute ethics breaches in the public sector, including by state civil service employees, local and public authorities, state-owned companies, and all national organizations involved with public service missions.

In 2006, the government created the Financial Intelligence Unit (CENTIF) to promote good governance and protect the economy of Burkina Faso against financial crimes and to comply with the legal and institutional framework for combating money laundering in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) member countries. CENTIF has been semi-operational since 2009.

Burkina Faso has taken steps to fully adopt regional and international anti-corruption frameworks and the country ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption in October 2006. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso has agreed to enforce a regional law against money laundering and has issued a national law against money laundering and financial crimes.

According to the 2010 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Burkina Faso has reduced its perceived levels of corruption in the public sector and improved its worldwide ranking from 105th in 2007,to 80th in 2008 and 79th in 2009 but worsened to 98th in 2010.

Bilateral Investment Agreements

The Burkinabe investment code provides the right to transfer capital and revenues secured by alien personal and legal entities, which invest in Burkina Faso in foreign currencies. Foreign investors have the right, subject to foreign exchange regulations, to transfer dividends, any returns on the capital invested, the liquidated or conclusion proceeds of assets, in the same currency used in the initial investment.

Burkina Faso has signed various multilateral investment agreements, including provisions in the Lome Convention and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

Burkina Faso has signed the following bilateral investment protection agreements:

Kingdom of the Netherlands, signed November 10, 2000. La durée de validité est de 15 ans avec reconduction tacite pour une période de 15 ans l'accord à été ratifié le 18 août 2003 The validity period is 15 years with automatic renewal for an additional 15 years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord signé avec , le 11 mai 2001 pour une durée de dix an, reconduit tacitement pour une nouvelle période de 10 ans ; cet accord n'a pas été ratifié pour le moment.Republic of Chad, signed May 11, 2001 for a period of ten years, automatically renewable for an additional ten years. This agreement has not been ratified yet.

Accord avec , signé le 25 mars 2003 pour une durée de dix ans renouvelable par tacite reconduction pour de nouvelles périodes successives de dix ans ; l'accord à été ratifié le 26 août 2004.Republic of Guinea, signed March 25, 2003 for a period of ten years automatically renewable for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 26, 2004.

Accord avec , signé le 18 mai 2001 pour une durée de validité de 10 ans.Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros, signed May 18, 2001 for a period of ten years automatically renewed for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord avec , signé le 18 mai 2001 pour une durée de période de dix ans renouvelé par tacite reconduction ; l'accord a été ratifié le 18 août 2003.Benin, signed May 18, 2001 for a period of ten years automatically renewed for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord avec signé le 28 avril 1998 pour une durée de 10 ans renouvelé par tacite reconduction pour une période illimitée ; l'accord a été ratifié le 18 août 2003.Malaysia signed April 28, 1998 for a period of ten years automatically renewed for an additional ten years. The Agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord signé le 26 octobre 2004 avec .Democratic People's Republic of Korea, signed October 26, 2004 for a period of ten years automatically renewable for an additional ten yearsSa durée de validité est de 10 ans renouvelable par tacite reconduction pour la même durée ; l'accord n'a pas été ratifié pour le moment.. The agreement has not been ratified yet.

China signed April 9, 1998 for a period of ten years automatically renewed for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Convention avec signée le 18 mai 2001 pour une durée de 10 ans renouvelable par tacite reconduction pour la même durée ; l'accord a été ratifié le 18 août 2003.Belgium signed May 18, 2001 for a period of ten years automatically renewable for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord avec signé le 18 mai 2001 pour une durée de 10 ans, renouvelable par tacite reconduction l'accord a été ratifié le 18 août 2003.Ghana signed May 18, 2001 for a period of ten years automatically renewable for an additional ten years. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Accord de promotion et de garantie des investissements signé avec le 18 mai 2001 pour une durée de 18 ans renouvelable par tacite reconduction ; l'accord à été ratifié le 18 août 2003.Mauritania Promotion Agreement and Guarantee of Investments signed May 18, 2001 for a term of 18 years automatically renewed. The agreement was ratified August 18, 2003.

Traité signé avec le 22 octobre 1976 pour une durée de 10 ans et prolongé par la suite pour une durée illimitée à moins que l'une des deux parties contractantes ne le dénonce ; l'accord à été ratifié le 26août 2004.Federal Republic of Germany treaty signed October 22, 1976 for a period of 10 years and subsequently extended for an indefinite period unless either Party denounces it. The agreement was ratified on 26 August 2004.

OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

Burkina Faso has not benefitted from any OPIC programs thus far. Burkina Faso is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee agency (MIGA).

Labor

The Burkinabe Labor Code is effectively enforced by a labor court. Unions are well organized and defend employee interests in industrial disputes. Workers know their rights and do not hesitate to seek redress of grievances.

The February 1, 1982 Commercial Sector Collective Agreement divides employees (laborers, craftsmen, and senior staff) into eight categories with minimum basic pay rates from 32,218 CFA (about USD 65) per month. Conditions for the employment of workers by enterprises are provided in Decree no. 98 of February 15, 1967. An employer should ask job candidates for their job-seeker registration card issued by the Office of Employment and Promotion, which is part of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth.

It is the GOBF's policy to increase employment opportunities for Burkinabe workers. Therefore, in professions where there are too many registered and unemployed Burkinabe, a job-seeker card will not be issued to non-nationals. When non-nationals are hired, the Director of Labor authorizes their employment contract. According to a February 15, 1967 decree, statements must be made to the Regional Inspector of Work and Social Rules before the start up of any new enterprise.

In the event of a reduction in personnel, the labor code requires the employer to first dismiss employees with the least training and seniority. The employer must advise employees of termination at least 30 days in advance. Workers terminated in a general workforce reduction have re-employment priority over other applicants for a two-year period. Employees terminated for reasons other than theft or flagrant neglect of duty have the right to termination benefits. Burkinabe workers have a reputation as hardworking and dedicated employees.

To date, Burkina Faso has approved and ratified a myriad of conventions issued by the International Labor Organization. These conventions include Freedom for Union and Protection of Rights to Union, Abolition of Hard Labor, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

While unskilled labor is abundantly available in Burkina Faso, skilled labor resources are limited. Construction, civil engineering, mining, and manufacturing industries employ the majority of the formal labor force.

Burkina Faso has undertaken reforms of labor policy in order to make to make the labor market more flexible and ensure social justice including workers' safety and health. In May 2008, the country adopted a new Labor Code to better protect workers. The Labor Code includes improved hiring conditions and social liberties, increased flexibility for labor agreements, limitations on damages and interest, redefinition of strike conditions, and retirement eligibility for all workers (including day laborers). Social security services include independent workers.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports

There are no foreign trade zones or free ports in Burkina Faso.

Foreign Direct Investment Statistics

The government of Burkina Faso does not have the capacity to provide Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) statistics. This is an area that they are currently working on. A Presidential Council on Investment (CPI) was established in 2007 and plans to establish an Agency of Investment Promotion (API) that will work with the CPI not only to account for FDI but to attract new investment.

Cell phone use has increased by 82.7% from 1,016,605 in 2006, to more than 4 million users in 2010.

The mining sector accounts for a large portion of Burkina Faso’s FDI and includes investments primarily by Canadian, Australian and South African interests. The gold mine at Essakane accounts for Burkina Faso’s largest foreign investment to date with IAMGOLD, a Canadian mining company, investing 228 billion CFA (approx $480 million) for the site’s development. The number of mines will continue to grow. The government of Burkina Faso will soon welcome bids for the reopening of the Poura gold mine. Poura first opened in the 1950's but was closed in 1999 because of the price of gold. Burkina Faso expects new gold mines to attract $260 million in new investments and gold production is expected to increase to over 20 tons of gold metal in 2011.

Alok Industries, an Indian company, is planning to set up a cotton plant outside of the second major city of Bobo-Dioulasso. The project will be a partnership between Alok Industries and the government of Burkina Faso with Alok Industries owning the majority. It is projected to produce 12,000 tons of cotton fiber per year and account for up to 20 billion CFA ($40 million) in FDI.

In December 2010, following an international call for tender, Burkina Controls Inc, a company of which Cotecna Inspection S.A is the majority stakeholder, acquired 51% of the shares of the Centre de Controle des Vehicules Automobiles (CCVA). CCVA has an exclusive mandate to carry out periodical technical controls on all automotive vehicles circulating in Burkina Faso and also conducts inspections of both private and state vehicles.

There are only two wholly-owned American firms in Burkina Faso: AMERITEL, a telecommunications firm that sells transmission equipment and maintenance services, and TRADE, an English language service.

The International Finance Corporation’s strategy for Burkina Faso currently focuses on improving the investment climate, building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, micro enterprises and placing an emphasis on developing projects in the sectors of infrastructure and agribusiness

[This is a mobile copy of Burkina Faso]