Burkina Faso - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
Last published date:

Business Customs

Business is conducted very formally in Burkina Faso.  Greetings and titles are part of the formalities.  No verbal transaction between two people takes place unless greetings have been exchanged, including the shaking of hands.  It is polite to greet an official or send correspondence using a title rather than a proper name.  Proper attire for men is suit and tie regardless of the weather.   Business cards are normally exchanged in initial meetings.  Establishing a personal relationship with business partners is a critical factor in the successful negotiation of major projects, government procurement, or in developing long-term business relationships.

Most business transactions are still conducted face-to-face.  Meetings may involve a large number of people who speak formally and at length on a given subject.  Organizational hierarchies are widely respected and accomplishing a task or getting information quickly requires knowing the appropriate person to approach.

Travel Advisory

There is a travel warning currently in effect for travel to Burkina Faso, which is Level 4: Do Not Travel. .  Visitors can consult this warning at the State Department’s advisory website.  Visitors are also encouraged to enroll their trip with the Embassy using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov.

Visa Requirements

Visas and proof of yellow fever inoculations are required for entry.  A valid U.S. passport is required for a visa application, and the application process costs USD 140 for a standard five-year, multiple entry visa.

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process.  Visa applicants should go to the following links:

State Department Visa Website
United States Visas.gov
U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso (Visas)


Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (WAEMU), which is also headquartered in Ouagadougou, and its currency is the Community of Francophone Africa (CFA) Franc.  The CFA Franc, backed by the French treasury, trades at a fixed rate with the Euro, and is fully convertible.


Telephone and internet service providers are relatively reliable, but the cost of utilities is high and speeds can be slow.   Hotel Wi-Fi is not always available and may be spotty even at the most prominent business hotels.  A number of cyber cafes are located in Ouagadougou and increasingly in secondary cities.  Cellular service is widely used throughout the country, and prepaid cards can be bought at kiosks throughout the country.  International calls to most countries can be dialed directly.  The country code for Burkina Faso is +226.


Ouagadougou’s international airport is served by several weekly domestic and international flights.  Public transportation, even in the capital, is unreliable since buses and taxis are in poor condition.  Rental cars and all-terrain vehicles are expensive but available, usually at hotels that cater to businesspeople and tourists.  Two passenger trains leave Ouagadougou each week for Cote d’Ivoire, and freight trains leave daily.
Primary roads between main towns in Burkina Faso are paved.  Domestic air service and flights between Africa are relatively limited.  As of 2022, there were several airlines servicing the capital city, Ouagadougou, with approximately 50 commercial flights per week, including Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Asky Airlines, Air Maroc, Air Algerie, Air Cote d’Ivoire, Air Burkina, among others


French is Burkina Faso’s official language.  Some well-traveled businesspersons and government officials are proficient in English, but most are not.  The local language, Moore, is widely spoken in Ouagadougou, with Dioula being widely spoken in Bobo-Dioulasso.


Local medical services are limited.  Unwashed fruits and vegetables and undercooked meats are not safe to eat.  Tap water is not potable.  Bottled mineral water is available at hotels, restaurants, and some retail shops.  Chloroquine-resistant malaria is prevalent in Burkina Faso, and malaria suppressants should be taken prior to arrival in country.  Vaccinations and precautions against other illnesses are recommended for travel in rural areas.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or internet at
Travelers’ Health | CDC.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Burkina Faso is on GMT.  Many local businesses and government offices close at 3:00 pm and most businesses are closed on Sunday.  The following local and international holidays are observed each year:

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 3:  Popular Uprising

March 8: International Women’s Day

April 18: (Variable): Easter Monday

May 1: International Labor Day

May 26: (Variable): Ascension Day

May 2 (Variable): Aid-El Fitr (Ramadan)

July 9: Eid-Al-Kabir (Tabaski)(variable)

August 5: Independence Day

August 15: Assumption

October 8 (TBD): Mouloud ((Variable):

November 1: All Saints’ Day

December 12: Proclamation of Independence/National Day

December 26: Christmas Day (observed Sunday, December 25)

Travel Related Web Resources