ICF Interventions – The success story of Burkina Faso

October 03, 2016

When the Government of Burkina Faso decided to reform and improve its business environment in the latter half of the 2000s, it embarked on a comprehensive and transformational mission. Three decades of sometimes overreaching and rigid government had left the country with an opaque, confusing and arbitrary bureaucratic system wholly unfavorable to both business and Burkinabés.

Clear examples of these challenges to business were the effort entailed in registering a business, as well as obtaining construction licenses and land titles. The extent of these obstacles to business meant that, in many cases, businesses operated informally and without the required approvals, despite the risks involved.

Beyond enabling business to start and grow operations, the Government of Burkina Faso also sought to raise confidence in its judicial system to boost confidence in contract enforcement. A lack of a specialized judicial framework, legal commercial expertise, and low public awareness of judicial resources meant that the resolution of business disputes was a lengthy and confusing process.

In November 2008, the Government of Burkina Faso invited ICF to collaborate on their first joint project.


ICF interventions

The cooperation has since flourished and three projects have been successfully completed, and the partnership continues to this day.

Facilitating business operations:


One-Stop-Shops for business registration and licensing known as Centres de Formalités des Entreprises (CEFORE), and similar One-Stop-Shops for construction permits known as Centres de Formalités des Actes de Construire (CEFAC) were established that have been very successful in reducing costs and delays. The Business Registration and Construction License project cost USD 1,240,000 with ICF contributing USD 550,000 and the Government of Burkina Faso funded the remaining USD 315,000.



Facilitating land transactions:

In November 2008, ICF signed an agreement with the Government of Burkina Faso for the Land Registration System project which aimed to improve the management of land registration and property transactions.

As a result, a One-Stop-Shop housing an electronic database was established which streamlined procedures and helped to reduce processing times. The digitized land registry is also helping to prevent boundary disputes.

Establishing commercial courts:

On the judicial front, two commercial courts were constructed under the Establishment of Commercial Courts project which are now fully operational. A streamlined and modern legal framework has been introduced, while judges and magistrates in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso have been trained in business law. Specifically, 6 judges were trained in specialist commercial litigation. This has prompted the Ministry of Justice to provide 4 more judges with specializations training as the private sector demand for these services has increased. The total project cost was USD 4,065,610, USD 2,246,260 of which were funded by ICF and the remaining USD 1,819,350 were covered by the Government of Burkina Faso.

On a psychological level, by raising form and quality, the specialization of judges quite simply raises the spirit of professionalism.” Julien Lalogo, Cabinet Maître Lalogo, a Ouagadougou law firm

“We do notice that people and companies come to us far more, there’s much more demand. Before there was a certain hesitation to get wrapped up in legal proceedings. But now they come because they know their dispute will be resolved.”Safieta Koanda Dera, President of the Commercial Tribunal of Ouagadougou.


ICF’s engagements in Burkina Faso have been wide-ranging and well-received, leading to a long-lasting cooperation with government actors, as evidenced by their gratitude for ICF.

In May 2016, ICF’s own Hubert Hourizene received the honor of being named a Knight of the National Order of Burkina Faso, on behalf of ICF, for his services in contributing to the development of the country.




Improving information-sharing among government institutions:

The Interconnection Business, Lands and Construction Service (IBLCS) aims to integrate government’s business, land and construction permit systems for better efficiency, so that intra-government information sharing is improved. The program, known as Système Intégré des Guichets Uniques (SIGU), allows interconnectivity between all relevant government software (four programs are now integrated in SIGU as depicted below) to access the same information instantly.

This is an ongoing project which is expected to cost a total of USD 4,400,000, to which ICF will contribute USD 3,100,000 and the government has committed USD 1,300,000.


Facilitating custom procedures:

The Facilitation of Custom Procedures projects aims to tackle the bureaucratic and cumbersome processes involved in the clearing of goods at Customs. The project has established a single window for Customs known as Système de liaison virtuelle pour les opérations d’importation et d’exportation (SYLVIE). SYLVIE is expected to improve the facilitation of international trade to and from Burkina Faso.

This is an ongoing project which has a cost estimate of USD 4,450,000, with ICF and the Government of Burkina Faso committing USD 2,500,000 and USD 1,082,000 respectively.


After ICF

Encouragingly, and reflecting ICF’s catalytic role in spurring reform, the Government of Burkina Faso has taken several steps to enable business independently of ICF. In April 2016, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft lowered the minimum share capital required to incorporate a company by 95%, earning it a 75-place jump in the

Streamlining business incorporation ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index 2016.


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