Working in Ouagadougou is particularly suited to expatriates with an enterprising spirit, or an interest in creating a balance between their working life and culture. This is not your typical skyscraper-stuffed metropolis, but it is a busy and interesting city that has a lot to offer anyone who is looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to see the world in a different light.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the economy relies heavily on farming. Crops such as cotton, peanuts, maize, rice and millet are mainly harvested for the country’s own use, with any surplus being exported to neighboring countries. However, in Ouagadougou, there has been a gradual move towards commercial industries.
The government has been active in creating new roads and transport links to improve trade with other African countries, and the low land prices have led to the establishment of several factories in the city center.
Many expats move to Ouagadougou to work within one of the many charitable organizations that are active in the city, and there is an ongoing demand for teachers, doctors, and administrative professionals.
If you are moving to Ouagadougou with the intention of finding work, it is advisable to have your job arranged before you arrive. Most expats find it easier to settle into the city with the help of an employer or colleague who knows the ropes. This is a unique city with its own customs and cultures, and it can be hard to fit in without a bit of local knowledge.
Speaking French will be an enormous advantage to your job search, as will a working understanding of local languages such as Moore, Bambara and Mandinka.
For expat jobs, look for vacancies at the international aid agencies – they are always looking for skilled workers and volunteers to help with various city-wide projects. Alternatively, ask around the expat community for any openings or opportunities.
Taxation is not high in Ouagadougou, with progressive rates going from 2% to 30% on your annual salary. Corporate tax is also capped at 27.5%, while companies can also benefit from a country-wide law that guarantees foreign investors the same rights as Burkina Faso nationals. There are a range of smaller corporate taxes that may affect self-employed expatriates, so it is worth hiring a local accountant to avoid any undue penalties or fees.
Taxes are paid to the Ministry of Finance, which is situated on the Avenue Ho Chi Minh in the city center.