Trade has long been identified as an essential tool for stimulating local economies and assisting in the alleviation of poverty. With a population of over one million inhabitants, Bobo-Dioulasso is considered a hub for international trade, specifically with Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. Located in western Burkina Faso, Bobo-Dioulasso is the country’s second largest city, behind the country’s capital Ouagadougou. Trade is of paramount importance for the local economy and for the livelihood of a large part of the population, with the city’s commercial sector representing almost half (45%) of its GDP in 2012. Despite ongoing political instability, Bobo-Dioulasso has managed to protect, and even develop, its commercial functions. The city relies heavily on the sale of agropastoral products, foodstuffs and cash crops and in its definition as a commercial hub serves as a collection point for import products and a distribution centre for export. In addition, agricultural surpluses from neighbouring rural towns are centralised in Bobo-Dioulasso and distributed to the city’s markets or exported to regions facing agricultural deficits.

Following the Côte d’Ivoire conflict in 2002, which strongly affected the port of Abidjan, the region’s supply system was redirected to the ports of Benin, Togo and Ghana. Given Bobo-Dioulasso’s position at the junction of various national and international trade routes, it has since gained a fundamental role in the region’s trade. However, due to the lack of territorial planning and the deteriorated condition of much of its infrastructure, the city has struggled to develop economically. In terms of territorial planning, one of the main goals Bobo-Dioulasso looks to accomplish is the creation of secondary centres or hubs and the promotion of promising business channels.

In addition to the territorial and infrastructure challenges Bobo-Dioulasso faces in light of its economic development, climate change poses yet another major issue. The expected reduction in rainfall, coupled with an increase in annual temperatures and the emergence of more frequent adverse climatic events will pose a further strain on the city’s economic development. In response to the challenges it faces, Bobo-Dioulasso is currently the subject of the project, “Local and sustainable economic development of Bobo-Dioulasso” (PDeID, French acronym), which aims to enhance the municipality’s capacities to improve its fiscal potential, through the collection of taxes and the construction of commercial facilities.

In the scope of the ongoing PDeID, AETS (in collaboration with BURGEAP) undertook an assignment in the second half of 2020 to assist the municipality of Bobo-Dioulasso identify the weaknesses in the city’s local food supply when faced with climate risks. Given the increasing occurrence of climate-related catastrophes, this assignment funded by the Agence Française de Développmement (AFD) would aim to provide information regarding the current and future climate risks specific to the area allowing for appropriate measures to be taken to anticipate and mitigate the risks.