Last updated in March 2016
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.
The former 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 and food security, water supply and sanitation, and decentralisation. Other areas of cooperation are health care and human rights, in particular for women and children. Burkina Faso is a beneficiary of the special initiative One World, No Hunger (SEWOH). From the beginning of cooperation in 1961 up to the end of 2015, German development cooperation commitments have totalled nearly EUR 1 billion.
German development cooperation’s implementing organisations – the KfW Development Bank and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) – have offices in the country. Numerous German non-governmental organisations as well as the Hanns Seidel Foundation 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. A bilateral investment protection agreement has been in place since October 2009. Burkina Faso benefits from preferential imports under the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union.
Bilateral cultural relations focus on promoting the German language. There are more than 40,000 students learning German at secondary schools who are taught by 270 local teachers. A German department was opened at the Ouagadougou University in 1982 and there are more than 400 students are enrolled there.
Since September 2008, the Goethe Institute Abidjan has run a liaison office in Ouagadougou. Two of the country’s grammar schools participate in the Federal Foreign Office’s Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH). Since 2011, students from schools in Burkina Faso have regularly participated in the Educational Exchange Service’s International Award Winners Programme.
There are numerous cooperation projects in higher education. 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. A German cycling team participated in the Tour de Faso again in 2015.
In early 2010, the since deceased German artist and director Christoph Schlingensief launched an African Opera Village project near Ouagadougou. Schlingensief’s widow is carrying on the project with the help of private donations. A school that is affiliated to the Opera Village was officially opened in October 2011 and an infirmary in June 2014.
In May 2013, a European Film Week that featured German productions was held in both Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Germany also plans to take part in the 2016 event. In addition, the German-supported Ciné Bus project is providing access to high-quality regional film productions, even in remote areas of the countries. Launched in 2016, it has met with a very positive response from the rural population and sparked off relevant socio-political debates.