Burkina Faso is a poor country that depends on rainfalls because 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. Use of telecommunications is extremely low, due to the low penetration of electricity, even in major cities.
The Internet penetration rate was 11% in 2017. Use of mobile phones has increased drammatically from 1.0 million lines in 2006 to 10 million in 2012. The fixed-line incumbent Onatel, majority-owned by Maroc Telecom, operates the country’s fixed-line network, a CDMA2000 wireless network, a fibre optic backbone and one of three GSM mobile networks, Telmob. The mobile operators have entered the underdeveloped internet sector by offering mobile data services using GPRS and EDGE technology, but 3G services have not yet been introduced.
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.
Onatel-sa is the incumbent telecommunications operator in Burkina Faso. It is the global reference operator working in all telecommunications segments (fixed, mobile, internet and data). The company has a monopoly in the field of fixed wired telecommunications in Burkina Faso. In 1996, Onatel created a mobile segment called “TELMOB”, which competes with two other mobile operators. Since December 29, 2006, the Maroc Telecom group is the new majority shareholder of Onatel at 51%, changing the company’s name to Onatel-sa. Fasonet is the entity of Onatel-sa specialized in the provision of Internet access. It is the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Burkina Faso and the manager of the national Internet access node.
None reported as of June 2017