Back to Officials


Name: Yonli, Paramanga
Current Position: Ambassador

The ambassador to the United States from the West African country of Burkina Faso is a former Prime Minister of the country who holds a doctorate in economics. 

Paramanga Ernest Yonli was born on December 31, 1956, in Tansarga, Tapoa Province, Burkina Faso, which at the time was a French colonial possession known as Upper Volta, a name which was not changed until 1984. Yonli was named ambassador in December 2007, and presented his credentials in Washington, DC, in February 2008. 
Yonli attended secondary school in Ouagadougou, and earned an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Ouagadougou in 1979. He then attended the University of Benin in Lomé, Togo, where he earned a master’s degree in economics, specializing in planning and development, in 1981. He continued his studies in France, attending the Sorbonne, where he obtained a doctorate in agricultural development in 1985. While in France, he worked for the Association pour le Développement des Foyers (Association for the Development of Homes), where he was in charge of residential establishments for immigrant construction and steel workers. 
Returning to Burkina Faso, in February 1986, Yonli began a career as a researcher at the Center for Studies, Documentation, and Economic and Social Research (CEDRES) at the University of Ouagadougou, where he worked on marketing, pricing, and storage of agricultural products. He also worked as an affiliated research economist with the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Burkina Faso. From 1990 to 1994, Yonli ran a research program on farmers’ strategies for food security at CEDRES. In addition to his research activities, Yonli conducted multiple studies and consultations for a variety of private and governmental organizations, and published several articles and reports on cereal banks, marketing, animal production, cereal production, fruit and vegetable production, etc. He earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Groningen (Netherlands) in February 1997, with a thesis entitled “Stratégies paysannes en matière de sécurité alimentaire et commercialisation céréalière - le rôle des banques de céréales dans le Nord du Plateau Central du Burkina Faso” (“Agricultural strategies in the field of food security and the commercialisation of cereal production – the role of cereal banks in the North of the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso”).
Yonli’s public service career began in 1994, when he was named managing director of the National Employment Promotion Fund, where he served from 1994 to February 1996. At that time he became the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, a job he kept until September 1997, when he was appointed as Minister of Civil Service and Institutional Development, serving in that capacity until November 2000. 
On the heels of the resignation of Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo‎, President Blaise Compaoré named Yonli Prime Minister, and he served in that capacity until June 2007, concurrently serving as Minister of Economy & Finance from November 2000 to June 2002. 
Yonli has been active in the Burkinabe party, Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès (CDP), serving as a member of its Executive National Directorate. 
Yonli speaks French and English fluently. He is married to Araba Kadiatou Zerbo, a daughter of the former state and head of the government Saye Zerbo, and he is the father of four children.
Bookmark and Share