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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country situated on the edge of the Sahara, in western Africa. It borders Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. In the past, Burkina Faso was part of the Great Mossi Empire; one of the strongest of ancient African kingdoms. Burkina Faso received its independence from France in 1960. Since gaining independence, this country experienced some military coups and political instability, especially in the 1980s. It is currently gaining its political and economical stability after periods of unrest. Although Burkina Faso has some remarkable reserves of gold, cotton production remains one of its main exports. Burkina Faso’s capital city is Ouagadougou. In Africa and worldwide, this city is known for staging one of

Africa’s leading cultural events, namely the Pan-African Film and Television Festival, FESPACO. It is during this festival that filmmakers and fans come together to see Africa’s best films. In even-numbered years, Ouagadougou is the host of the International African Arts and Crafts Trade Show, SIAO. This event is the continent’s largest crafts market, allowing artisans and visitors to enjoy African art and crafts. As a result of hosting some of Africa’s most renowned cultural events, Burkina Faso has a strong reputation for its advancement of African art and culture. Ouagadougou is home to the Ethnography Museum which contains some Mossi artifacts. Every Friday morning, the Moro-Naba ceremony takes place outside the Moro-Naba Palace, with traditional costumes and drums. Burkina Faso is also home to a variety of wildlife preserved in the three national parks of Kabore Tembi, Arli and the Ranch de Nazinga. These parks are home to everything from elephants, antelopes, monkeys to baboons. Undoubtedly, Burkina Faso has a strong tradition of dance and music. The Djeli (griots in French) are the praise singers of Burkina Faso. They play an important role in the Burkinabe society as they are known to recite the history of the different villages, chiefs and people. They pass on traditions and rituals from generation to generation, clearly showing the importance of oral culture in this nation.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Burkina Faso's Flag

Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center, using the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia.

Nationality: Burkinabe

Capital: Ouagadougou

Population: 13,902,972 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 46.8%
  • 15-64 years: 50.7%
  • 65 years and over: 2.5% (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 3% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 26.6% of the population is literate (male: 36.9%, female: 16.6%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%

Languages: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population.

Quick Facts
  • total: 274,200 sq km
  • land: 273,800 sq km
  • water:400 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of the Yukon Territory

Natural resources: manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt.

Environmental Issues: recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation.


Burkina Faso, rated as one of the world’s poorest countries, relies greatly on subsistence agriculture involving 90% of its population. This country has a few natural resources and a weak industrial base. As cotton is the country’s key crop, its GDP growth is inevitably driven by increases in world cotton prices. Burkina Faso has joined other cotton producing countries in the region to demand improved access to Western markets. The troubles of neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire continue to damage the trade relations and industrial prospects between these two nations. Industry is largely dominated by government-controlled corporations.

Major industries:

  • cotton lint
  • beverages
  • agricultural processing
  • soap
  • cigarettes
  • textiles
  • gold

Agricultural products:

  • cottons
  • peanuts
  • shea nuts
  • sesame
  • sorghum
  • millet
  • corn
  • rice
  • livestock

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: 622 km

Road map: 12,506 km (paved: 2,001 km, unpaved: 10,505 km)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc


Telephone lines in use: 81,400 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 398,000 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2002)

Radio Stations: AM 3, FM 17, shortwave 3 (2002)

Internet users: 53,200 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 4.2% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 300,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

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