Last updated in November 2014
The Federal Republic of Germany and Burkina Faso have maintained diplomatic relations since 1960. Numerous town twinning arrangements and association partnerships as well as the activities of non-governmental organisations have helped to consolidate these relations, resulting in a tight-knit web of personal and institutional contacts.
Then Burkinese President Blaise Compaoré and then Foreign Minister Djibril Bassolé paid an official visit to Germany in June 2012. Then Federal Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel was in Ouagadougou on a working visit in August 2012.
Development cooperation and economic relations
Bilateral relations focus on development cooperation in the following areas: agriculture, water and decentralisation. Other areas of cooperation are reproductive health, human rights – in particular for women and children – as well as budget support, assistance with public-finance reform and macroeconomic advice. Up to the end of 2013, German development cooperation commitments totalled nearly EUR 1 billion. For the period 2011 to 2013, EUR 82 million in government development cooperation was made available. Further pledges were made in 2012 following the poor harvest, including funding for food security measures.
German development cooperation’s implementing organisations – the KfW Development Bank and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which was created in 2011 by the merger of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany – have offices in the country. Numerous German non-governmental organisations are working together with Burkinese partners to support the country’s development, in many cases with Federal Government funding.
Bilateral trade is very modest, Germany recording large surpluses in both directions. A bilateral investment protection agreement has been in place since October 2009. Burkina Faso benefits from preferential imports under the EU’s Cotonou Agreement.
Bilateral cultural relations focus on promoting the German language. There are more than 36,300 students learning German at secondary schools who are taught by 235 local teachers. A German department was opened at the Ouagadougou University in 1982, which has been awarding master’s degrees since 1997. More than 400 students are enrolled there. In May 2013, a German language competition, initiated by the local German language inspectors, was held in the towns of Kaya and Barcalogo in the north of Burkina Faso, the prize winners receiving their awards at a ceremony in Barcalogo.
Since September 2008, the Goethe Institute Abidjan has run a liaison office in Ouagadougou. Two of the country’s grammar schools participate in the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative run by the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe Institute. Students from schools in Burkina Faso took part in the Educational Exchange Service’s International Award Winners Programme for the first time in 2011. Again in 2013, two students were selected to participate in the programme.
There are numerous cooperation projects in higher education sector. The academic teaching post funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) at Ouagadougou University has been filled again since 2007.
In addition, Burkinese coaches regularly participate in further-training measures conducted by the University of Leipzig. In 2011, a German cycling team took part in the Tour du Faso again for the first time in 15 years. A German cycling team participated in the Tour de Faso again in 2012 and 2013.
In early 2010, the since deceased German artist and director Christoph Schlingensief launched an African Opera Village project near Ouagadougou. The school – one of the project’s basic elements – was officially opened in October 2011. Schlingensief’s widow is endeavouring to carry on the project with the help of private donations.
In May 2013, a European Film Week was held in both Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Germany submitted the films Sound of Heimat by Arne Birkenstock and Jan Tengeler and Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness) by Ulrich Köhler.