afrol News, 17 June - The economic crisis has affected the economy of Burkina Faso only in a limited way. Despite dry whether conditions and low cotton prices, GDP growth has only been slightly reduced.
According to the latest analysis of the Burkinabe economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), GDP growth was reduced from 5.2 percent in 2008 to 3.2 percent in 2009. Last year's economic growth was slightly higher than the IMF had anticipated.
However, last year's GDP growth was somewhat below Burkina Faso's estimated population growth, thus representing a negative per capita growth. The Burkinabe population, with an annual growth rate at 3.4 percent, is among the highest in the world, posing a strong challenge to efforts to lift the population out of poverty.
IMF analyst Murilo Portugal nevertheless holds that authorities in Ouagadougou are doing a good job to secure economic growth and reduce poverty. "Burkinabe authorities are to be commended for maintaining sound economic policies and the momentum of structural reforms in the last three years, despite a challenging environment marked by several exogenous shocks," Mr Portugal said in a statement this week.
A 3.2 percent growth rate in 2009 had been a better-than-to-be-expected result, given the global crisis, the IMF analysis holds. "In 2009, economic activity was negatively affected by the impact of adverse shocks," the report says. "The global economic crisis affected the cotton sector; and unfavourable weather conditions weighed heavily on economic activity and domestic demand."
Despite one year with GDP growth being slower than population growth, the Fund is optimistic about the mid and long-term developments in Burkina Faso and government's ability to fight poverty. "The medium-term outlook remains favourable. Economic growth is expected to pick up gradually," Mr Portugal predicts.
IMF projections for this year outline an expected GDP growth of 4.4 percent, which represents a slightly more optimistic outlook than only a few months ago. For 2011, the Fund expects the Burkinabe economy to grow by 4.7 percent.
Based on Ouagadougou economic policies and plans, combined with projections of the global economy, the IMF is even more optimistic for the long-term development of the country. Burkina Faso's projected GDP growth rates for 2012, 2013 and 2014 are set at 5.5, 6.2 and 6.5 percent respectively.
The Fund believes the Burkinabe three-year programme for growth should produce the expected results. Its main aim is to "raise the real GDP growth above 6 percent by 2013." As a consequence, the Washington-based board of the Fund this week approved a credit totalling US$ 67.7 million to support the programme over the next three years.
The positive outlook is also based on investments already made or in the making. Economic growth would be driven mostly by "the anticipated expansion in agriculture and gold production, and higher and more effective public investment. The expected global economic recovery, and new investment in the mining sector will also support growth," according to the IMF analysis.
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