|In the early 1980s, local laborers constructed a 1,144-km (711-mi) canal to bring water for irrigation from the Black Volta to the newly constructed Sourou Dam. This work was part of a plan to establish 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of irrigated land for smallholders and state projects. Production figures for principal subsistence crops in 1999 were sorghum, 1,203,000 tons; millet, 973,000 tons; corn, 378,000 tons; and rice, 89,000 tons. Commercial crops (with 1999 production figures) included cottonseed (185,000 tons), groundnuts (215,000 tons), cotton fiber (136,000 tons), and sesame (13,000 tons). Other important crops are cassava, cowpeas, sweet potatoes, and tobacco. Sugarcane has been introduced on a large scale and is becoming an important cash crop; 400,000 tons were produced in 1999.
2. Mining and mining code
Mining accounted for 1%-2% of GDP; revenues were dominated by gold, the third-leading export commodity. Gold mining output for 2000 was 1,000 kg, and artisanal miners have become the predominant producers. The gold mine at Poura, which was estimated to contain 450,000 tons of ore at a grade of 12 grams per ton of gold, closed in 1999, reportedly because of low gold prices, after completion of an $11.6 million rehabilitation project in 1997 financed by the European Union.
The mine was operated by the parastatal Société de Recherches et d'Exploitations Minères du Burkina (SOREMIB), and production was complemented by the output of tens of thousands of individual prospectors called orpaillages. An estimated 40%-60% of artisanal gold production was smuggled out of the country.Exploitation of an estimated 15 million tons of high-grade manganese ore at Tambao awaited better commercial prospects and completion of a railway extension from Ouagadougou to Tambao. Bauxite deposits have been located in the regions of Kaya and Bobo-Dioulasso.
Significant mineral deposits included copper at Gaoua and Wayen, graphite at Kaya, and phosphate at Kodjari. Four main deposits of limestone have also been discovered. For many years, iron has been worked at Ouahigouya and near Banfora to make farm and home implements. The Perkoa high-grade zinc ore deposit, in development, had resources of 7 million tons and planned to produce 60,000 tons per year with an estimated mine life of 15 years. Other deposits included cassiterite, cobtitle, diamonds, granite, lead, marble, nickel, phosphate rock, pumice, stitle, sand and gravel, uranium, and vanadium. The government adopted a new mining code in 1997 primarily to standardize all the legal measures used to regulate the sector and to amend those parts of the previous legislation that had hindered future development.
3. Business opportunities
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world with an average income per capita of 250 (US$300). More than 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture, with only a small fraction directly involved in industry and services. Low rainfall, poor soils, lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure, a low literacy rate, and a stagnant economy are all longstanding problems. The export economy also remains subject to fluctuations in world prices.
Current GDP per capita of Burkina Faso grew 13% in the Sixties reaching a peak growth of 237% in the Seventies. But this proved unsustainable and growth consequently scaled back to 23% in the Eighties. Finally, it shrank by 37% in the Nineties. Average wages in 2007 hover around $2-3 per day.
4. Financial & banking institutions
In 1959, the Central Bank of West African States (Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest-BCEAO) succeeded the Currency Board of French West Africa and Togo as the bank of issue for the former French West African territories. In 1962, it was reorganized as the joint note-issue bank of Benin (then Dahomey), Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania (which withdrew in 1973), Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Burkina Faso (then Upper Volta). BCEAO notes, known as CFA francs, are guaranteed by France without limitation. Foreign exchange receipts of Burkina Faso go into the BCEAO's exchange pool, which in turn covers its foreign exchange requirements.
Other banks are the International Bank for Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Burkina Faso, the National Development Bank (80% government-owned), the National Fund of Agricultural Credit of Burkina Faso (54% state-owned), the state-owned National Fund of Deposits and Investment, the International Bank of Burkina, Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), Bank of Africa (BOA), and Ecobank Burkina.The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits an aggregate commonly known as M1 were equal to $357.8 million. In that same year, M2 an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds was $537.5 million. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.95%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 6.5%.