Moving to Burkina Faso

1. What visas are required to move to Burkina Faso?

To move to Burkina Faso, you typically require a visa. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose of your visit and how long you plan to stay in the country. Here are some common visas required for moving to Burkina Faso:

1. Tourist Visa: If you are planning to visit Burkina Faso for leisure or tourism purposes, you will likely need a tourist visa. This visa allows you to stay in the country for a limited period, usually up to 30 or 90 days.

2. Business Visa: If you are traveling to Burkina Faso for business-related activities, you will need a business visa. This visa allows you to engage in commercial activities in the country for a specific duration.

3. Work Visa: If you intend to work in Burkina Faso, you will need a work visa. This visa is granted to individuals who have secured employment in the country and allows them to work legally for their designated employer.

4. Residence Permit: For individuals planning to stay in Burkina Faso for an extended period, a residence permit is required. This permit allows you to live in the country for a specified period, typically renewable on an annual basis.

It’s important to note that visa requirements and application procedures may vary based on your nationality, so it is recommended to check with the nearest Burkina Faso embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information tailored to your specific situation.

2. What is the cost of living in Burkina Faso compared to my current location?

The cost of living in Burkina Faso is generally lower compared to many Western countries. The prices of goods and services in Burkina Faso are more affordable, especially for basic necessities such as food, transportation, and accommodation. However, it is essential to note that the cost of living can vary depending on the city or region within the country. Here are some key points to consider when examining the cost of living in Burkina Faso compared to your current location:

1. Housing: Renting an apartment or house in Burkina Faso is typically cheaper than in many Western countries. The cost of accommodation will vary based on the location and the type of property you choose.

2. Food and groceries: The cost of food and groceries in Burkina Faso is generally lower compared to Western countries. You can find fresh produce, local dishes, and staple foods at affordable prices in local markets.

3. Transportation: Public transportation in Burkina Faso, such as taxis and buses, is relatively inexpensive. However, the quality of transportation services may vary between urban and rural areas.

4. Healthcare: The cost of healthcare services in Burkina Faso is generally lower than in Western countries. However, the quality and availability of medical facilities may vary depending on your location within the country.

5. Overall, living in Burkina Faso is likely to be more budget-friendly compared to many Western countries. It is essential to consider your lifestyle preferences and personal needs when evaluating the cost of living in Burkina Faso in comparison to your current location.

3. What are the best cities or regions to live in Burkina Faso?

1. Ouagadougou: As the capital and largest city in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou offers a vibrant urban lifestyle with a range of amenities and services. It is the economic, political, and cultural hub of the country, making it a popular choice for expats and locals alike. With a variety of international schools, restaurants, and entertainment options, Ouagadougou provides a modern living experience while still retaining its rich African culture.

2. Bobo-Dioulasso: Known as the country’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso is a more laid-back and relaxed alternative to the hustle and bustle of Ouagadougou. This city is famous for its traditional architecture, lively markets, and vibrant music scene. Bobo-Dioulasso offers a slower pace of life while still providing essential services and a strong sense of community.

3. Koudougou: Located in the central part of the country, Koudougou is a smaller city that boasts a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. This city is known for its friendly locals, affordable cost of living, and proximity to natural attractions such as the Nazinga Game Ranch and the Sacred Grove of Kaya. Koudougou provides a more authentic African experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Overall, the best city or region to live in Burkina Faso largely depends on individual preferences and priorities. Whether you prioritize urban conveniences, cultural experiences, or a slower pace of life, each of these cities offers a unique living experience in the diverse and welcoming country of Burkina Faso.

4. How can I find a job in Burkina Faso as a foreigner?

Finding a job in Burkina Faso as a foreigner can be challenging but not impossible. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances:

1. Research: Start by researching industries in Burkina Faso that are in high demand and where your skills may be needed. This will give you an idea of what type of job opportunities are available.

2. Networking: Networking is crucial in Burkina Faso. Try to connect with locals, expatriates, and other professionals in your field through online platforms, business events, or professional organizations.

3. Online Job Portals: Utilize online job portals and websites that specialize in international job postings. Websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and African-based job platforms may have job listings in Burkina Faso.

4. Embassies and Consulates: Contact your home country’s embassy or consulate in Burkina Faso for job leads or networking opportunities. They may have resources or know of job openings targeted towards foreigners.

5. Language Skills: Proficiency in French is essential for many jobs in Burkina Faso, as French is the official language. Consider improving your French language skills to improve your employability.

6. Work Permits: Ensure you have the necessary work permits and visas to work legally in Burkina Faso. Check with the Burkina Faso government or relevant authorities for specific requirements for foreigners seeking employment.

By following these steps and staying persistent in your job search, you may increase your chances of finding job opportunities in Burkina Faso as a foreigner.

5. What are the healthcare facilities like in Burkina Faso?

Healthcare facilities in Burkina Faso vary widely in quality and accessibility. The country’s healthcare system faces several challenges, including a shortage of healthcare professionals, inadequate infrastructure, and limited resources. In urban areas, such as the capital city Ouagadougou, there are hospitals and clinics that offer basic medical services. However, in rural areas, healthcare facilities are often scarce and may lack essential medical equipment and medications.

1. The government has been working to improve healthcare services in Burkina Faso by increasing funding for healthcare programs and infrastructure development.
2. Non-profit organizations and international agencies also play a significant role in supporting healthcare initiatives in the country.
3. Traditional medicine is still widely practiced in Burkina Faso, and many people rely on traditional healers for their healthcare needs.
4. Access to quality healthcare can be challenging for many Burkinabe due to financial constraints, leading to disparities in healthcare outcomes across the population.
5. Overall, while efforts are being made to enhance the healthcare system in Burkina Faso, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all residents have access to adequate and affordable healthcare services.

6. Is it safe to live in Burkina Faso as an expat?

Living in Burkina Faso as an expat can come with certain challenges in terms of safety. While security issues exist in some parts of the country, particularly along the border regions with Mali and Niger where terrorist groups operate, the overall safety situation in urban centers like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso is relatively stable. Expats should exercise caution, stay informed about the security situation, and follow any travel advisories issued by their home government and local authorities.

1. It is recommended to avoid travel to areas designated as high-risk zones, especially those bordering Mali and Niger.
2. Expats should remain vigilant, avoid crowded or politically sensitive areas, and be cautious when using public transportation.
3. It is advisable to consider hiring local security personnel for added protection, especially if living in a remote or less-secure area.
4. Building good relationships with local communities can also enhance safety, as they can provide valuable insights and support in navigating the local environment.
5. Understanding the cultural norms and practices of Burkina Faso can help expats integrate better and reduce risks associated with misunderstandings or miscommunications.
6. Overall, while challenges exist, with proper precautions and awareness, expats can have a safe and fulfilling experience living in Burkina Faso.

7. What are the best schools for expat children in Burkina Faso?

The best schools for expat children in Burkina Faso typically include international schools that offer a high-quality education with a focus on accommodating students from different cultural backgrounds. Some of the top choices for expat families moving to Burkina Faso are:

1. International School of Ouagadougou (ISO): ISO is a popular choice among expats for its rigorous academic curriculum, experienced international faculty, and diverse student body.

2. American International School of Ouagadougou (AISO): AISO follows the American curriculum and provides a well-rounded education with a range of extracurricular activities.

3. Franco-African International School (EFIA): EFIA offers a bilingual education in French and English, making it a great option for expat children looking to develop language skills in both languages.

4. QSI International School of Ouagadougou: QSI provides a personalized approach to education with small class sizes and a focus on individualized learning plans.

These schools not only offer a high standard of education but also provide a supportive community for expat families to help their children adjust to their new environment in Burkina Faso.

8. How easy is it to find housing in Burkina Faso?

Finding housing in Burkina Faso can vary in terms of ease depending on the location and specific preferences. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Availability: In major cities like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, there are more options available in terms of housing compared to smaller towns and rural areas. Expatriate-friendly areas may offer a wider selection of housing choices.

2. Rental Market: The rental market in Burkina Faso is not as organized or formalized as in some Western countries. It is common for landlords to require a few months of rent upfront as a deposit.

3. Real Estate Agents: While using real estate agents is an option, they may not always have a wide range of properties available. It is recommended to network with locals or expatriates for recommendations on housing options.

4. Online Platforms: There are limited online platforms that list properties for rent or sale in Burkina Faso. Utilizing local websites or social media groups may provide more insight into available housing options.

Overall, finding housing in Burkina Faso may require some patience and flexibility, especially for expatriates or foreigners. It is advisable to visit the country in person to view properties and understand the local housing market before making a decision.

9. What are the transportation options in Burkina Faso?

In Burkina Faso, transportation options vary depending on the region and infrastructure availability. Here are some common modes of transportation in the country:

1. Public Transport: Public transport in Burkina Faso mainly consists of buses and minibusses, known as “bush taxis. These vehicles operate in both urban and rural areas, connecting major cities and towns. They are a cost-effective way to travel around the country, though they can be crowded and less comfortable.

2. Motorcycles: Motorcycles, commonly referred to as “motos,” are a popular mode of transportation in Burkina Faso, especially in rural areas where road conditions may be challenging. Motorcycle taxis are a common way to navigate through traffic and reach destinations quickly.

3. Personal Vehicles: Private cars are also used for transportation in Burkina Faso, particularly in urban areas where individuals have access to their vehicles. Rental cars are available in major cities, providing visitors with the flexibility to explore the country at their own pace.

4. Bicycles: Bicycles are widely used in Burkina Faso, especially in rural communities where they serve as a primary mode of transportation. Cycling is an affordable and environmentally friendly way to travel short to medium distances.

5. Air Travel: For long-distance travel within Burkina Faso or to neighboring countries, air travel is an option. The country has several domestic airports, with Ouagadougou Airport being the main international gateway. Airlines such as Air Burkina and several international carriers operate flights to and from the country.

6. Rail Transport: Burkina Faso has a limited railway network operated by Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Burkina Faso (SNCB). The railways primarily transport freight, but passenger services are also available on some routes.

Overall, while transportation infrastructure in Burkina Faso may not be as extensive or developed as in some other countries, there are various options available for getting around the country. It is essential to consider factors such as cost, comfort, and convenience when choosing the most suitable mode of transportation for your needs in Burkina Faso.

10. Can I bring my pets with me when moving to Burkina Faso?

Yes, you can bring your pets with you when moving to Burkina Faso. However, there are specific regulations and requirements that must be met in order to bring your pets into the country:

1. Your pet will need to be microchipped for identification purposes.
2. They must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination certificate, issued at least one month prior to travel.
3. You will need to obtain an import permit from the Burkina Faso Ministry of Animal Resources.
4. A health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in your home country will also be required.

It is recommended to contact the Burkina Faso Embassy or Consulate in your home country to obtain the most current and detailed information on the specific requirements for importing pets into Burkina Faso.

11. What is the weather like in Burkina Faso throughout the year?

Burkina Faso has a primarily hot and dry climate throughout the year due to its location in the Sahel region of West Africa. The country experiences distinct rainy and dry seasons, with the dry season typically lasting from November to May and the rainy season from June to October. During the dry season, temperatures can soar, often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The Harmattan wind, a dry and dusty wind that blows from the Sahara Desert, can also bring cooler temperatures but significant dust haze.

1. The hottest months in Burkina Faso are usually March to May, with April often being the hottest month.
2. The rainy season brings relief from the scorching heat, with temperatures becoming more moderate but humidity levels rising.
3. The southern regions of Burkina Faso generally receive more rainfall compared to the northern parts.
4. The peak of the rainy season is usually in August and September, with heavy downpours that can lead to flooding in some areas.
5. Overall, Burkina Faso’s weather is characterized by hot temperatures, dry conditions, and a distinct contrast between the wet and dry seasons.

12. What languages are spoken in Burkina Faso and how important is it to speak French?

In Burkina Faso, there are about 70 different languages spoken, reflecting the country’s diverse ethnic makeup. However, French is the official language and serves as the primary language of administration, education, and business in the country. Therefore, it is essential to have at least a basic understanding of French when living in Burkina Faso. Here’s why:

1. Official Language: French is the official language of Burkina Faso, and it is used in government institutions, official documents, and legal proceedings.

2. Education: The education system in Burkina Faso is predominantly in French, from elementary school through university. Proficiency in French is necessary to access formal education in the country.

3. Business: French is also widely used in the business sector in Burkina Faso. Many commercial transactions, contracts, and negotiations are conducted in French.

4. Communication: While there is linguistic diversity in Burkina Faso, French serves as a lingua franca that allows people from different ethnic groups to communicate with each other.

5. Integration: Speaking French helps expatriates and foreigners integrate into Burkinabe society more easily, as many locals are fluent in French and may not speak English or other languages.

Overall, while there is linguistic diversity in Burkina Faso, French remains a crucial language for communication, education, business, and social integration in the country.

13. How can I meet other expats and make friends in Burkina Faso?

Meeting other expats and making friends in Burkina Faso can be a rewarding experience for newcomers. Here are some ways to connect with the expat community and build friendships in the country:

1. Join expat groups and organizations: There are various expat groups and clubs in Burkina Faso where you can meet like-minded individuals. These groups often organize social gatherings, networking events, and other activities that can help you connect with other expats.

2. Attend expat events: Keep an eye out for expat events such as happy hours, cultural festivals, and charity functions. These events provide a great opportunity to socialize with other expats and build relationships.

3. Utilize social media: Join expat forums and groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Meetup to connect with other expats in Burkina Faso. You can also use these platforms to seek advice, recommendations, and meetups that cater to expat communities.

4. Engage in language exchange programs: Participating in language exchange programs can be a fun way to interact with locals and fellow expats. This activity can help you improve your language skills and make new friends along the way.

5. Volunteer: Consider volunteering for local nonprofit organizations and charities. Not only will this allow you to give back to the community, but it will also enable you to meet other expats who share a passion for helping others.

6. Attend cultural events and workshops: Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending cultural events, workshops, and classes. This is a great way to connect with both locals and expats who share an interest in the cultural heritage of Burkina Faso.

By actively seeking out opportunities to connect with the expat community and engaging in social activities, you can establish a strong network of friends and acquaintances in Burkina Faso. It’s essential to be open-minded, friendly, and willing to step out of your comfort zone to make meaningful connections in a new country.

14. Are there any cultural norms or customs I should be aware of when living in Burkina Faso?

When living in Burkina Faso, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the cultural norms and customs of the country to ensure a smooth transition and respectful interaction with the locals. Here are some key cultural aspects to be aware of:

1. Greetings: Greetings are extremely important in Burkina Faso. It is customary to greet people with a handshake and inquire about their well-being before engaging in conversation.

2. Respect for elders: Respect for elders is highly valued in Burkinabe society. It is essential to show deference and listen attentively when speaking with older individuals.

3. Dress code: Burkina Faso is a conservative society, so it is advisable to dress modestly, especially in rural areas. Wearing traditional Burkinabe clothing can be a sign of respect and integration into the local culture.

4. Gift-giving: Offering gifts is a common practice in Burkina Faso, especially when visiting someone’s home. It is polite to present small gifts such as fruit, nuts, or traditional textiles as a gesture of goodwill.

5. Eating customs: When sharing a meal with others, it is customary to wash your hands before eating. Burkinabe cuisine often involves communal eating, where people gather around a shared dish.

6. Religious sensitivity: Burkina Faso is a predominantly Muslim country, with a significant Christian minority. It is essential to respect religious practices and customs, especially during religious holidays.

7. Gender roles: Traditional gender roles are prevalent in Burkina Faso, with men and women often having distinct societal roles. It is important to be mindful of these dynamics and act accordingly in social situations.

8. Non-verbal communication: Non-verbal cues such as eye contact, gestures, and body language play a significant role in communication in Burkina Faso. Maintaining eye contact during conversations is considered a sign of respect.

By understanding and respecting these cultural norms and customs, you can positively integrate into Burkinabe society and form meaningful relationships with the local community.

15. What are the best ways to send money back home from Burkina Faso?

There are several efficient ways to send money back home from Burkina Faso. Here are some of the best options available:

1. Money transfer services: Using popular companies like Western Union, MoneyGram, or Ria Money Transfer allows you to send money quickly and securely to your home country. These services usually have branches or partner locations in most countries, making it easy for your family to receive the funds.

2. Bank transfers: Many banks in Burkina Faso offer international money transfer services, allowing you to send money directly from your bank account to another account overseas. While this method may take slightly longer than money transfer services, it is a reliable and safe way to send money back home.

3. Mobile money transfer: With the increasing popularity of mobile money services in Burkina Faso, you can use platforms like Orange Money or M-Pesa to send money back home quickly and conveniently. These services are easy to use and often have lower fees compared to traditional banks.

4. Online payment platforms: Platforms like PayPal or TransferWise offer international money transfer services that are fast and cost-effective. By linking your local bank account or debit card to these platforms, you can easily send money back home with just a few clicks.

Overall, the best way to send money back home from Burkina Faso depends on factors such as speed, cost, and convenience. It is recommended to compare the different options available and choose the one that best meets your needs and preferences.

16. What are the internet and mobile phone services like in Burkina Faso?

In Burkina Faso, internet and mobile phone services are quite widely available, especially in urban areas. Here are some key points to consider regarding these services in the country:

1. Mobile Network Coverage: The main mobile operators in Burkina Faso are Orange, Telmob, and Airtel. They provide extensive coverage across the country, including in rural areas. However, the quality of coverage and service can vary depending on your location.

2. Internet Connectivity: Internet services in Burkina Faso are mainly provided through mobile data networks. 3G and 4G networks are available in major cities, offering relatively fast connection speeds. However, in more remote areas, the internet connection may be slower or less reliable.

3. Internet Cafes: In urban areas, you can also find internet cafes where you can access the internet for a small fee. These cafes offer a convenient option for those who do not have regular access to the internet.

4. Cost of Services: The cost of mobile phone and internet services in Burkina Faso can be relatively high compared to other countries in the region. However, competition among mobile operators has led to some price reductions in recent years.

5. Wi-Fi: Some hotels, cafes, and restaurants in urban areas offer Wi-Fi services for their customers. This can be a more convenient and affordable option for accessing the internet compared to mobile data.

Overall, while the internet and mobile phone services in Burkina Faso are generally accessible, it is important to be aware of the potential variations in quality, coverage, and cost depending on your location within the country.

17. How easy is it to open a bank account in Burkina Faso as a foreigner?

As a foreigner, opening a bank account in Burkina Faso can be a bit of a bureaucratic process, but it is generally possible. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Documentation: You will need to provide several documents, including a valid passport, proof of address in Burkina Faso, and proof of income or employment.

2. Residency requirement: Some banks may require you to prove your residency status in Burkina Faso, such as a long-term visa or a residence permit.

3. Language barrier: Most banking documents and transactions in Burkina Faso are conducted in French, so it may be helpful to have a basic understanding of the language or bring a translator.

4. Minimum deposit: Some banks may require a minimum deposit to open an account, so be prepared to meet this requirement.

5. Personal appearance: In some cases, you may need to visit the bank in person to open the account, as online account opening options for foreigners may be limited.

Overall, while the process of opening a bank account in Burkina Faso as a foreigner may have some challenges, with the right documentation and preparation, it is certainly possible to do so.

18. What are the best ways to explore and travel within Burkina Faso?

When exploring Burkina Faso, there are several ways to travel within the country to make the most of your experience:

1. Public Transportation: In urban areas like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, there are buses and minibusses that serve as the primary mode of public transportation. These can be crowded and sometimes unreliable but are an affordable way to get around.

2. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in cities and can be a convenient way to travel short distances. Make sure to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi, as they usually do not operate on meters.

3. Car Rental: Renting a car can provide more flexibility and freedom to explore Burkina Faso at your own pace. However, be prepared for rough road conditions outside major cities.

4. Motorcycles: Motorcycle taxis, known as “zemidjans,” are a popular mode of transportation for locals and can be a thrilling way to navigate through traffic and reach your destination quickly.

5. Domestic Flights: For longer distances, domestic flights are available between major cities like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. This can save time and offer a different perspective of the country’s landscapes from the air.

It’s essential to factor in the infrastructure and road conditions when choosing the best way to explore Burkina Faso. Each mode of transportation has its advantages and disadvantages, so determining the most suitable option based on your itinerary and preferences will ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience within the country.

19. Are there any specific items or products I should bring with me when moving to Burkina Faso?

When moving to Burkina Faso, there are several specific items or products you should consider bringing with you to ensure a smooth transition and comfortable living experience:

1. Medications: It is advisable to bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you might need, as availability can be limited in some areas of Burkina Faso.

2. Mosquito repellent: Given the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, it is crucial to bring effective mosquito repellents and mosquito nets to protect yourself.

3. Personal hygiene products: Consider bringing your preferred personal hygiene products, as specific brands or options may not be readily available in Burkina Faso.

4. Sun protection: With Burkina Faso’s hot and sunny climate, it is essential to bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn.

5. Electronics and adaptors: Bring necessary electronics like laptops, phones, and chargers, along with any voltage converters or plug adaptors since the electrical outlets in Burkina Faso might differ from those in your home country.

6. Comfortable clothing: Pack lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for hot weather, as well as some warmer clothes for cooler evenings or the harmattan season.

7. Reusable water bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated in Burkina Faso, so having a reusable water bottle can be handy for carrying water with you.

8. Travel insurance: Consider purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, repatriation, and other unforeseen circumstances during your stay in Burkina Faso.

By bringing these essential items, you can ensure a more comfortable and prepared relocation to Burkina Faso.

20. What are the opportunities for volunteering or getting involved in community projects in Burkina Faso?

There are several opportunities for volunteering and getting involved in community projects in Burkina Faso. Here are some ways you can make a positive impact:

1. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Many NGOs operate in Burkina Faso, working on various community development projects. Volunteering with these organizations can allow you to contribute to areas such as education, healthcare, women’s empowerment, and agriculture.

2. Schools and Orphanages: Volunteering in schools or orphanages can be a rewarding way to support the local community. You can help with teaching, organizing activities, or providing basic care and support to children in need.

3. Environmental Conservation: Burkina Faso faces environmental challenges such as deforestation and desertification. Getting involved in projects focused on environmental conservation, tree planting, or sustainable agriculture can help protect the country’s natural resources.

4. Health Projects: Health initiatives are crucial in Burkina Faso, where access to healthcare services is limited in many areas. Volunteering with health organizations can involve activities such as conducting health education sessions, providing medical support, or assisting in vaccination campaigns.

5. Women’s Empowerment Programs: Supporting women’s empowerment projects can have a significant impact on individuals and communities in Burkina Faso. These initiatives may focus on skills training, entrepreneurship, advocacy, or combating gender-based violence.

To get involved in community projects in Burkina Faso, it’s important to research reputable organizations, understand local needs, and be culturally sensitive in your approach. Volunteering can be a meaningful way to contribute to sustainable development and make a positive difference in the lives of others.