That dollar amount reflects a 79.5% increase from $2.8 billion in 2017.
Year over year, overall sales of Burkina Faso’s exported goods accelerated by 15.6% compared to $4.4 billion during 2020.
Burkina Faso’s biggest 3 exports by value are unwrought gold, uncarded cotton, then zinc ores or concentrates which, collectively, accounted for 89.5% of the overall revenues from all of the country’s exports in 2021. Such a high percentage illustrates Burkina Faso’s intensely concentrated set of exported goods.
Major Trading Partners of Burkina Faso
The latest available country-specific data shows that 96.7% of products exported from Burkina Faso were bought by importers in: Switzerland (72.7% of the global total), India (9.6%), Singapore (3.8%), Ivory Coast (3.6%), Mali (1.6%), United States of America (1.1%), Ghana (1%), France (0.8%), Togo (0.7%), Niger (also 0.7%), Mauritius (0.6%), and Belgium (0.5%).
From a continental perspective, 75.4% of Burkina Faso’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 14.4% were sold to importers in Asia. Burkina Faso shipped another 9% worth of goods to fellow African nations.
Tinier percentages went to North America (1.2%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.009%) then Oceania’s Australia only (0.006%).
Given Burkina Faso’s population of 21.5 million people, its total $5.06 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $235 for every resident in the northwest African country. That dollar metric exceeds the average $200 per capita one year earlier during 2020.
Burkina Faso’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Burkinabe global shipments during 2021, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Burkina Faso.
- Gems, precious metals: US$3.9 billion (77.5% of total exports)
- Cotton: $459.3 million (9.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $162.7 million (3.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $148.7 million (2.9%)
- Oil seeds: $117.5 million (2.3%)
- Machinery including computers: $39 million (0.8%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $38 million (0.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $32.7 million (0.6%)
- Vehicles: $27.7 million (0.5%)
- Iron, steel: $20.5 million (0.4%)
Burkina Faso’s top 10 exports accounted for 98.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Vehicles represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 107.7% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was cotton via a 73% advance.
Burkina Faso’s shipments of fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 55.1%.
The lone decliner among Burkina Faso’s top 10 export categories was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes, thanks to a -9.4% year-over-year drop.
Drilling down to 4-digit HTS codes, Burkina Faso’s most valuable exported goods include unwrought gold (77.4% of its global total). In second place was uncarded cotton (9%), zinc ores or concentrates (3.1%), cashew nuts and coconuts (2.3%), oil seeds (2.1%), hydraulic cements (0.7%), fixed vegetable fats and oils (0.6%), trucks (0.4%), and heavy machinery (0.3%).
Products Generating Burkina Faso’s Best Trade Surpluses
Burkina Faso incurred an overall $350.3 million trade surplus for 2021, expanding by 78.8% compared to $196 million in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Burkinabe product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Gems, precious metals: US$3.9 billion (Up by 9.8% since 2020)
- Cotton: $454.9 million (Up by 73.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $162.3 million (Up by 54%)
- Fruits, nuts: $143.2 million (Up by 56%)
- Oil seeds: $109.1 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $10.7 million (Up by 2.3%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $7.7 million (Down by -11.8%)
- Live animals: $634,000 (Up by 235.4%)
- Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $280,000 (Down by -75.2%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $279,000 (Up by 9.8%)
Burkina Faso has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Burkina Faso’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals category.
Products Causing Burkina Faso’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Burkina Faso that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Burkina Faso’s goods trail Burkinabe importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.4 billion (Up by 22.6% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$397 million (Down by -5.5%)
- Vehicles: -$341.6 million (Up by 11.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$275.7 million (Up by 9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$248.6 million (Up by 3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$184.8 million (Up by 11.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$156.4 million (Up by 12.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$155.9 million (Up by 25%)
- Cereals: -$143.6 million (Up by 23.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$115.1 million (Up by 22.3%)
Burkina Faso has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits related to the mineral fuels including oil category. That category was weighed down by red ink for refined petroleum oils, electricity, petroleum gas then petroleum coke.
Burkinabe Export Companies
Not one Burkinabe corporation ranks on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Wikipedia lists companies located in Burkina Faso. Selected examples are shown below.
- Air Burkina (airliner)
- Faso Airways (airliner)
- Tovio (sportswear, equipment)
In macroeconomic terms, Burkina Faso’s total exported goods represent 9.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($53 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 9.3% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Burkina Faso’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Burkina Faso’s capital city is Ouagadougou.
See also OPEC Countries Crude Oil Exports Sales Data, Report Card for Trade Surpluses and Deficits by Country and Top Cork Exporting Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Burkina Faso. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 11, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 11, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Burkina Faso. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Burkina Faso. Accessed on October 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on October 11, 2022