Burkina Faso Transportation

Burkina Faso Cities and Transportation



The most important cities of Burkina Faso are the capital Ouagadougou with around 2.87 million residents, Bobo-Dioulasso with around 807,000, Koudougou with around 183,000, Fada N’Gourma with around 180,000 and Ouahigouya with around 170,000 (all estimated 2016).

According to areacodesexplorer, Burkina Faso is one of the countries in West Africa with the lowest urbanization rates. It is 30% (HDR, 2020) across the country. But the capital is growing at a dizzying pace. In 2025 the population of Ouagadougou will approach 5,000,000. With this in mind, urban planners are designing a “Schéma directeur d’aménagement du grand Ouaga” (SDAGO). The Participatory Slum Upgrading Program (PSUP), which is to be implemented with the help of UN Habitat, is embedded in the national urban development policy.

Traffic routes


The road network in Burkina Faso includes, according to the World Factbook of the CIA currently 92,495 kilometers. About 60% of all national roads (RN) are paved, ie 3,857 km out of a total of 6,697 km. They form the main traffic axes between the larger cities and neighboring countries. Regional and provincial roads (8,575 km) are mostly paved laterite roads (earth roads). In addition, there are over 75,000 km of rural slopes with no road surface, which are difficult to pass in the rainy season. Private bus routes operate between all cities in Burkina Faso. In addition to intercity buses, minibuses (“taxi brousse”) are often used.

In order to curb the ever increasing traffic flows, three city motorway junctions (“échangeurs”) have been built since 2005. A fourth hub is now under construction in the north.

Rail transport

The only railway line (formerly Régie Abidjan-Niger = RAN) was built during the colonial period in various stages between Ouagadougou, Koudougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Banfora and the border with Ivory Coast. From there it is further connected to the port of Abidjan. The line, completed in 1954, was expanded to Kaya (bataille du rail) during the revolutionary period (1983-87).
The single- and meter-lane route covers a total of 1,264 km, of which 622 km is in Burkina Faso. It’s not electrified.

There have been phases of privatization and restructuring since the 1990s, which suffered setbacks as a result of the civil war in Ivory Coast. Extensive renovations have been underway since 2009. Today operate under the name SITARAIL Daily freight and passenger trains between Abidjan and Ouagadougou. SITARAIL is now part of the Bolloré group. In 2013, 97 wagons of 50 t each were delivered from India for freight traffic. The capacity of the line could thus be increased by around 40%. The technical condition of the route is still ailing and does not allow higher speeds.

On September 6, 2016, the railway bridge built in 1911 collapsed in Dimbokro, 240 km north of Abidjan. This interrupted the rail link between Abidjan and Ouagadougou for several weeks.

In July 2017, Foreign Minister Alpha Barry announced that the Abidjan-Ouagadougou line would be rehabilitated for 400 million euros in the coming years. Construction began on December 4th, 2017. 8 years are planned for the repair. 853 km of rails and 31 stations will be renewed. 5 million tons (goods and raw materials) and 800,000 travelers are to be transported per year in the future.

The expansion of the line was planned from the beginning to Niamey / Niger. For more than half a century, a connection to Tambao in the far north, where manganese deposits could be mined, has been planned.

A railway connection (boucle ferroviaire) Cotonou-Parakou-Dosso-Niamey-Ouagadougou-Abidjan is also planned. The group Bolloré is in charge of the company with over 40%.
The construction of a railway line from Ouagadougou to Accra is also discussed again and again. This plan was given high priority again in the bilateral talks between Ghana and Burkina Faso in May 2017. The project was restarted on January 15, 2018and the route determined. It should run from Ouagadougou 218 km via Kombissiri, Manga, Yambassé, Pô and Dakola to the border with Ghana.

Air traffic

Burkina Faso has international airports in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. The national airline, Air Burkina, which was initially partially privatized in 2001, connects Ouagadougou with the West African cities of Abidjan, Accra, Bamako, Cotonou, Dakar, and Lomé. In 2017, the Agha Khan Foundation for Economic Development gave up its involvement in air traffic and returned the airline to the Burkinabe state for a symbolic CFA franc.

Ouagadougou is served by Air France, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Air Algérie, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and other airlines.
30 km northeast of Ouagadougou, near Donsin, a new international airport has been planned since 2010 to replace the previous airport located in the middle of Ouagadougou. As a result, 960 families lose their livelihood on the 4,400 hectare property and so far have not received sufficient compensation. There were demonstrations. The construction costs are estimated at EUR 450 million at the start of construction. Initially, construction work was expected to take up to three years. Ten years later, not much progress has been made.

In addition to the two international airports, there are also around 25 smaller airfields and runways without regular air traffic.

Burkina Faso Transportation