Burkina Faso's economy is predominantly agricultural, employing 90% of the population and contributing to approximately half the total output. During years unaffected by drought (a frequent and recurring problem) it maintains subsistence agriculture (sorghum, millet, maize and rice), plus cash crops of cotton, groundnuts, sesame and shea-nuts, red onions, and shea butter, which accounts for 60% of external revenue.
Mineral deposits, including gold and manganese, have been located, although comparatively little has been exploited - in August 1999, the country's largest gold mine was closed as being unviable. Burkina Faso has a small manufacturing sector producing textiles, sugar and flour. New hydroelectric schemes should reduce the country's dependence on imported fuels.
Economic policy has been dominated by the liberalisation measures implemented by the Compaoré government since the late 1990s, with particular stress on the reduction of the state sector, trade liberalisation and attraction of foreign investment. The economy has been growing at approximately 6% annually since 2000, although it is still very poor, with an average annual per capita income of US$300 and depends heavily on overseas aid, particularly from France and the EU.
Burkina Faso belongs to the CFA Franc Zone, which fixes the value of the local currency to that of the Euro (formerly the French Franc). Imports outweigh exports in value by a factor of five. Over one-third of exports are bought by France, which provides a similar quantity of Burkina Faso's imports.