Burkina Faso’s telecom sector has been held back by the slow pace of regulatory procedures and poor infrastructure. Fixed-line connections in Burkina Faso stand at less than 1 per 100 persons. The use of mobile-cellular devices, fostered by multiple providers, is increasing steadily from a low base. This has contributed to delays in operators being able to launch 3G and LTE services despite mobile networks being fundamental to internet access. The poor state of fixed-line networks has meant that in recent years the number of fixed-line subscribers has fallen steadily as customers migrate to the limited services available from the three mobile network operators.
Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso’s key exports – gold has accounted for about three-quarters of the country’s total export revenues. Burkina Faso’s economic growth and revenue depends largely on production levels and global prices for the two commodities. The Burkinabe economy experienced high levels of growth over the last few years, and the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports.
Burkina Faso experienced a number of public protests over the high cost of living, corruption, and other socioeconomic issues in 2013, while the fall of the government in 2014 and a failed coup in September 2015 disrupted economic activity and strained government finances. A new three-year IMF program, approved in 2013, was recently completed. Discussions are currently underway on a new program. Political insecurity in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose long-term challenges.