The Federal Republic of Germany and Burkina Faso have maintained diplomatic relations since 1963. The frequency of bilateral visits between Germany and Burkina Faso has increased dramatically in recent years. The President of Burkina Faso travelled to Germany twice in 2019, while Federal Chancellor Merkel last visited Burkina Faso in May 2019.
Given the deteriorating security situation, Burkina Faso has been a partner country of the Federal Government’s Enable and Enhance Initiative since 2019. It provides the security forces in Burkina Faso with support in the fields of training, equipment and security sector reform. After the signing of an agreement on 8 November 2019, the Bundeswehr began seconding an advisory group to Burkina Faso.
Alongside the security sector, development cooperation remains the most important pillar of Germany’s bilateral relations. German development cooperation focuses on agriculture, water and sanitation, as well as decentralisation. They are also working to improve the protection of children’s rights. Also in political terms, Germany is assuming responsibility for the international political and financial commitment on the ground as the donor spokesperson for the decentralisation and municipal development sector and co–donor spokesperson (alongside France and the World Bank) in the Sahel Alliance.
Cultural relations focus on promoting the German language. The people of Burkina Faso have a keen interest in learning German as a foreign language with more than 80,000 school pupils and more than 300 teachers of German. A German department was opened at Ouagadougou University in 1982 and there are currently some 1300 studying German in the country. Two grammar schools are networked as part of the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative. Since summer 2011, award winners of the programme run by the Educational Exchange Service have regularly been invited to Germany for short stays. There is also considerable cooperation in scientific and academic fields. The Abidjan branch of the Goethe-Institut has run a liaison office in Ouagadougou since September 2008. In 2020, this liaison office is to be upgraded to a fully-fledged branch including language courses and larger premises.