Infrastructure Development in Burkina Faso: The Story of Public Capital Budgeting

Infrastructure Development in Burkina Faso: The Story of Public Capital Budgeting

Kouliga Koala (Old Dominion University, USA) and Joshua Steinfeld (Old Dominion University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7329-6.ch009
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In Burkina Faso, the public capital management and budgeting framework is the MTEF. The budgeting method is the PBB. While Burkina has a budgeting framework and method, it is not clear how effectively they work when it comes to capital budgeting for infrastructure development, unlike developed countries where the framework and method are completely developed and clearly laid out. It is important to understand how Burkina integrates components of a normative framework such as long-term public capital planning, capital budgeting and financial management, centralized execution and project management, and infrastructure maintenance. The chapter focuses on providing a comparison of capital budgeting in Burkina and the normative framework. Exploring the literature and government documents, the authors show that Burkina theoretically addresses some of the elements of the normative components while practically, the country's use of most elements is weak and non-existent. The unique factors that inhibit the normative framework are highlighted and ten recommendations are provided.
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Burkina Faso became independent from France on August 5, 1960 under the name of Upper Volta. Burkina Faso has a total area of 274,000 square kilometers and a population of more than 18 million people (World Bank Group, 2017; Jeune Afrique, 2017). As of 2016, approximately 30.3 percent of the population lived in urban areas. While the official language of Burkina is French, more than 60 national languages are spoken, representing different ethnic groups including the mossi, the fulanis, the gurunsi, the bisansi, the dagari, the lobi, the samo, the dioula, and others.

Geographically, Burkina Faso is landlocked and surrounded by six countries. Regionally located in the heart of West Africa, it is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Burkina is also a member of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) composed of eight countries that use the Communauté financiére d’Afrique (Financial Community of Africa) currency (FCFA) and speak the same language, French, except Guinea-Bissau which speaks Portuguese. These regional organizations influence in one way or the other the development policies of Burkina including financial and public procurement policies. There is a strong regional effort to achieve integrated economic and infrastructure development for the benefits of free movement of people and a larger regional market. These efforts concerned mostly major infrastructure development projects with individual neighboring countries.

While Burkina Faso inscribes itself in line with the regional dynamism of infrastructure development in Africa, it also focuses on national infrastructure projects and programs as part of its national development strategies. In its state of development, schools, roads, transportation, health facilities, water, and sewerage are among the most pressing infrastructure areas where Burkina Faso has significant infrastructure gaps. In 2011, the World Bank estimated that the country would need to invest 11 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) toward infrastructure over 10 years to close the gap with the continent’s leading performers (O’Sullivan and Lima, 2016). In addition to capital requirements, there are a host of governance challenges to improving infrastructure. At a national assembly meeting in 2016, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization pointed out that the slow work of public administration, the procedures of technical and financial partners, difficulties in the public procurement procedures, and deficiencies in companies and service providers are some of the main causes of ineffective execution of projects.

Governance issues and ineffective management are coupled with resources constraints. To remedy, Burkina Faso adopted the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Program-Based Budget (PBB) as the budgeting framework and method. While there are benefits to these systems, the Ministry of Finance (MINEFID) identified the deficiencies of the current budgeting system including the lack of coherence between the MTEF framework and sectorial policies, the lack of sectorial policies, the difficulties in harmonizing MTEF with PBB, and the non-respect of MTEF portfolios (CAFRAD, 2018). The system is mined with cost overruns as well. Thus, there is a need to explore different avenues for better solutions. Key’s (1940) simple question of “how do we decide to allocate X amount to program A instead of B” is not only a practical one but also calls to thinking about normative and theoretical approaches to orient public spending (also seeMukherjee & Henderson,1987). A normative framework lays out steps in the budgeting process and articulates the practices needed to be successful. This chapter presents the current use of MTEF in Burkina while analyzing its fit with the elements of normative capital budgeting framework.

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