Understanding the impacts of fire and grazing on soil carbon dynamics is critical for designing savanna management strategies. Fire and grazing are generally thought to degrade land by inducing loss of soil carbon. However, empirical data are lacking on the long-term effects of prescribed burning and livestock exclusion on soil organic carbon (SOC). We analysed the effects of 19 years of prescribed burning and livestock exclusion on SOC on two sites (Tiogo and Laba) in the Sudanian savanna ecoregion of Burkina Faso. On both sites, prescribed burning slightly increased SOC over the control in the 0-50 cm soil depth across exclosure treatments; the relative increase being 1.8% and 5.4% on the Tiogo and Laba sites, respectively. However, livestock exclusion did not significantly increase tree densities, soil total nitrogen, and SOC content. The overall mean ( SEM) of SOC stocks in the 0-50 cm depth were 53.5 4.7 Mg ha-1 in the unburnt plots and 56.4 4.3 Mg ha-1 in annually burnt plots on the Tiogo site, while the corresponding figures on the Laba site were 37.9 2.6 Mg ha-1 in the unburnt and 38.6 1.9 Mg ha-1 in annually burnt plots. Neither exclosure nor prescribed burning had a statistically significant effect on SOC stocks in the 0-20 cm and 20-50 cm soil depths. We conclude that restricting burning or grazing did not increase the soil carbon sequestration potential of this dry savanna ecosystem contrary to our expectation.