Basic Info on Burkina Faso - History

Basic Info on Burkina Faso - History

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Geopolitical map of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a country of 16,241,811 inhabitants, with an area of ​274,200 km 2 , its capital is Ouagadougou and its time zone is "Africa/Ouagadougou". Its ISO code is "BF" in 2 positions and "BFA" in 3 positions.

To be able to make a telephone call to Burkina Faso, you must dial your telephone code, which is 226. The currency used in Burkina Faso is the "Franc" (XOF).

The administrative subdivision of Burkina Faso (administrative division) is made up of 13 Regions (level 1), 45 Provinces (level 2) and 351 Communes (level 3). Burkina Faso has 2 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants and 1 cities with more than one million inhabitants.

Above you have a geopolitical map of Burkina Faso with a precise legend on its biggest cities, its road network, its airports, railways and waterways. Do not hesitate to click on the map of Burkina Faso to access a zoom level and finer details.

Burkina Faso shares borders with Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo.


Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) is a landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations. It lies between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea, south of the loop of the Niger River, mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W and 3°E. The land is green in the south, with forests and fruit trees, and desert in the north. Most of central Burkina Faso lies on a savanna plateau, 198–305 metres (650–1,001 ft) above sea level, with fields, brush, and scattered trees. Burkina Faso's game preserves the most important of which are Arly, Nazinga, and W National Park contain lions, elephants, hippopotamus, monkeys, warthogs, and antelopes. Previously the endangered Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus occurred in Burkina Faso, but, although last sightings were made in Arli National Park, the species is considered extirpated in Burkina Faso. Tourism is not well developed.

Relief and drainage

Relief throughout Ghana is generally low, with elevations not exceeding 3,000 feet (900 metres). The southwestern, northwestern, and extreme northern parts of the country consist of a dissected peneplain (a land surface worn down by erosion to a nearly flat plain, later uplifted and again cut by erosion into hills and valleys or into flat uplands separated by valleys) it is made of Precambrian rocks (about 540 million to 4 billion years old). Most of the remainder of the country consists of Paleozoic deposits (about 250 to 540 million years old), which are thought to rest on older rocks. The Paleozoic sediments are composed mostly of beds of shales (laminated sediments consisting mostly of particles of clay) and sandstones in which strata of limestone occur in places. They occupy a large area called the Voltaian Basin in the north-central part of the country where the elevation rarely exceeds 500 feet (150 metres). The basin is dominated by Lake Volta, an artificial lake that extends far into the central part of the country behind the Akosombo Dam and covers about 3,275 square miles (8,500 square km). Along the north and south, and to some extent along the west, the uplifted edges of the basin give rise to narrow plateaus between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (300 and 600 metres) high, bordered by impressive scarps. The most outstanding are the Kwahu (Mampong) Scarp (see Kwahu Plateau) in the south and the Gambaga Scarp in the north.

Surrounding the basin on all of its sides, except in the east, is the dissected Precambrian peneplain, which rises to elevations of 500 to 1,000 feet above sea level and contains several distinct ranges as high as 2,000 feet.

Along the eastern edge of the Voltaian Basin, and extending from the Togo border to the sea immediately west of Accra, is a narrow zone of folded Precambrian rocks running northeast to southwest, forming the Akwapim-Togo Ranges, which vary in elevation from 1,000 to 3,000 feet (300 to 900 metres). The highest points in Ghana are found there, including Mount Afadjato (2,903 feet [885 metres]), Mount Djebobo (2,874 feet [876 metres]), and Mount Torogbani (2,861 feet [872 metres]), all situated east of the Volta River near the Togo border. These ranges are part of the Togo-Atakora Mountains, which extend northward into Togo and Benin.

The southeastern corner of the country, between the Akwapim-Togo Ranges and the sea, consists of the gently rolling Accra Plains, which are underlain by some of the oldest Precambrian rocks known—mostly gneisses (coarse-grained rocks in which bands containing granular minerals alternate with bands containing micaceous minerals) in places they rise above the surface to form inselbergs (prominent steep-sided hills left after erosion). The only extensive areas of young rocks less than about 136 million years old are in the wide, lagoon-fringed delta of the Volta, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Accra, and in the extreme southwest of the country, along the Axim coast.

In the east the predominant rocks are less than 65 million years old, though there is a patch of Cretaceous sediments (about 65 to 145 million years old) near the Ghana-Togo border. To the west of Axim, near the Côte d’Ivoire frontier, the rocks date to the Cretaceous Period. The intervening coastal zone between eastern and western extremes contains patches of Devonian sediments (about 360 to 415 million years old). With the older and more resistant rocks of the Precambrian peneplain, these form a low, picturesque coastline of sandy bays and rocky promontories.

The drainage system is dominated by the Volta River basin, which includes Lake Volta and the Black Volta, White Volta, and Oti rivers. Most of the other rivers, such as the Pra, the Ankobra, the Tano, and a number of smaller ones, flow directly south into the ocean from the watershed formed by the Kwahu Plateau, which separates them from the Volta drainage system. South of Kumasi, in the south-central part of the country, is Ghana’s only true natural lake— Bosumtwi—lying in a meteorite impact crater and without any outlet to the sea. Along the coast are numerous lagoons, most of them formed at the mouths of small streams.

Over much of the surface of Ghana, the rocks are weathered, and great spreads of laterite (red, leached, iron-bearing soil) and lesser spreads of bauxite and manganese are found on the flat tops of hills and mountains. Although the movements of Earth’s crust that produced the basic geologic structure of the country have now virtually ceased, periodic earthquakes occur, especially near Accra along the eastern foot of the Akwapim-Togo Ranges, where there is a major fault line.

Burkina Faso

The past two years have seen a sharp deterioration in the security situation across Burkina Faso’s northern and eastern regions (large parts of the East, Central North, North, Sahel and Boucle du Mouhoun regions) due to the presence of non-state armed groups – many with cross-border ties to extremists groups or movements in neighboring Mali and Niger. In 2020, ICRC classified the situation as a “non-international armed conflict”.

Overlaid across parts of the country considered most fragile due to political marginalization, climate variability and climate change and lack of economic opportunity, particularly for youth, the conflict and violence have resulted in the emergence of an unprecedented humanitarian emergency in a country more traditionally subject to chronic food and nutritional insecurity.

The conflict and violence have led to the displacement of more than one million people in just two years and has left 3.5 million people in need of assistance – a 60 per cent increase from January 2020 to January 2021.

Despite relatively favorable rains in 2020, food insecurity and malnutrition remain at alarming levels, most worrying in the areas affected by insecurity. In 2020, Burkina Faso saw its worst food security situation in more than a decade, with re-emergence of phase 4 conditions in two provinces and an estimated 11,000 people at risk of “catastrophic/famine” conditions. At the outset of 2021, the immediate risk of phase 5 conditions has abated, but more than 250,000 people remain in phase 4 “emergency” conditions.

More than 1.5 million people are in need of protection in 2021. More than 1/3 of children are at risk of recruitment by armed groups, forced labour and other protection concern and 1 per cent of IDP children are unaccompanied. Women and girls, who makes 54 per cent of IDPs are at increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence by armed groups.

As of January 2021, more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed with 118 deaths. All 13 regions in the country have registered COVID-19 since March 2020, with nearly 80 per cent of health districts reporting at least one case.

Humanitarian needs are higher than at any point since 2018, with 3.5 million people in need of assistance. The 2021 HRP will call for US$ 607 million to reach 2.9 million people with assistance.

The humanitarian response in Burkina Faso has been expanding – reaching 3 times as many people in 2020 as 2019, but sustained effort is required to respond at scale and provide a quality response that also prepares for a more protracted context and increased focus on building resilience.

Today, the HRP (February 2021) estimates that 3.5 million people need humanitarian assistance in six priority regions, compared to 2.2 million in January 2020. Worsening insecurity has sparked an unprecedented internal displacement crisis, now affecting all 13 regions of Burkina Faso: the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has increased from 87,000 in January 2019 to more than 1 million in December 2020. Burkina Faso is also hosting some 19,400 refugees and asylum-seekers, most of whom are from Mali.

$607 million will be required for the response in 2021 (a 43 per cent increase over mid-2020, largely due to larger target figures and increasing unit costs, including due to COVID-19 related measures). 2.9 million people in need of multisectoral assistance will be targeted. This is an increase of 61 per cent compared to January 2020.The plan which will be formally presented to donors and Government on the 9 February 2021, targets the six regions of the country most affected by the insecurity and the resulting humanitarian consequences.


The Army of Burkina Faso (L'Armée de Terre – Ground Forces or LAT) is a skeletonized force structure of some 5,800–6,000 officers and men, augmented by a conscript force or People's Militia of some 45,000 men and women. Unlike the police and security forces, the Army and the People's Militia are organized along Soviet/Chinese models and precepts. The Army is equipped with light wheeled armored cars, some mounting cannon.

The IISS estimated in 2011–12 that Burkina Faso had 6,400 personnel in the Armee de Terre in three military regions, one tank battalion (two tank platoons), five infantry regiments that may be under-strength, and an airborne regiment. Artillery and engineer battalions are also listed. [7]

In recent years, the United States has begun providing military assistance and training to Burkina Faso's ground forces. It has trained three 750-man battalions for peace support operations in Darfur. During a recent UN inspection, a U.S. Department of Defense evaluation team found Burkina's Laafi battalion fit to deploy to Sudan. Using a small Department of Defense International Military Education and Training (IMET) budget, the U.S. Embassy has established English-language courses at an LAT military base, and has brought LAT officers to attend officer basic training courses in the U.S. The government of Burkina Faso has also accepted additional U.S. training assistance in counter-terrorism tactics and humanitarian assistance. Burkina Faso has recently become a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). [8]



Armoured vehicles

    (24 ordered in 1983–1984) [10] (10 M-8 + 4 M-20, delivered in 1961) [10] (30) (13 AML-90 + 2 AML-60 delivered in 1975) [10] (13) (4) [11] (6, intended for police use paid for by the Canadian government) [10]

Artillery systems

Anti-aircraft warfare

Small arms


Economic overview

Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. Irregular patterns of rainfall, poor soil, and the lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure contribute to the economy’s vulnerability to external shocks. About 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base.

Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso’s key exports - gold has accounted for about three-quarters of the country’s total export revenues. Burkina Faso’s economic growth and revenue depends largely on production levels and global prices for the two commodities. The country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports.

In 2016, the government adopted a new development strategy, set forth in the 2016-2020 National Plan for Economic and Social Development, that aims to reduce poverty, build human capital, and to satisfy basic needs. A new three-year IMF program (2018-2020), approved in 2018, will allow the government to reduce the budget deficit and preserve critical spending on social services and priority public investments.

While the end of the political crisis has allowed Burkina Faso’s economy to resume positive growth, the country’s fragile security situation could put these gains at risk. Political insecurity in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose long-term challenges.


Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. The words "Burkina" and "Faso" stem from different languages spoken in the country: "Burkina" comes from Mossi and means "upright", showing how the people are proud of their integrity, while "Faso" comes from the Dioula language (as written in N'Ko: ߝߊ߬ߛߏ߫ ‎ faso) and means "fatherland" (literally, "father's house"). The "-bè" suffix added onto "Burkina" to form the demonym "Burkinabè" comes from the Fula language and means "men or women". [23] The CIA summarizes the etymology as "land of the honest (incorruptible) men". [24]

The French colony of Upper Volta was named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River (the Black, Red and White Volta). [25]

Early history Edit

The northwestern part of present-day Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers from 14000 BCE to 5000 BCE. Their tools, including scrapers, chisels and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973 through archaeological excavations. [26] Agricultural settlements were established between 3600 and 2600 BCE. [26] The Bura culture was an Iron-Age civilization centred in the southwest portion of modern-day Niger and in the southeast part of contemporary Burkina Faso. [27] Iron industry, in smelting and forging for tools and weapons, had developed in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1200 BCE. [28] [29] To date, the oldest evidence of iron smelting found in Burkina Faso dates from 800 to 700 BC and form part of the Ancient Ferrous Metallurgy World Heritage Site. [30] From the 3rd to the 13th centuries CE, the Iron Age Bura culture existed in the territory of present-day southeastern Burkina Faso and southwestern Niger. Various ethnic groups of present-day Burkina Faso, such as the Mossi, Fula and Dioula, arrived in successive waves between the 8th and 15th centuries. From the 11th century, the Mossi people established several separate kingdoms.

8th century to 18th century Edit

There is debate about the exact dates when Burkina Faso's many ethnic groups arrived to the area. The Proto-Mossi arrived in the far Eastern part of what is today Burkina Faso sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries, [31] the Samo arrived around the 15th century, [32] the Dogon lived in Burkina Faso's north and northwest regions until sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries [33] and many of the other ethnic groups that make up the country's population arrived in the region during this time.

During the Middle Ages the Mossi established several separate kingdoms including those of Tenkodogo, Yatenga, Zandoma, and Ouagadougou. [34] Sometime between 1328 and 1338 Mossi warriors raided Timbuktu but the Mossi were defeated by Sonni Ali of Songhai at the Battle of Kobi in Mali in 1483. [35]

During the early 16th century the Songhai conducted many slave raids into what is today Burkina Faso. [32] During the 18th century the Gwiriko Empire was established at Bobo Dioulasso and ethnic groups such as the Dyan, Lobi, and Birifor settled along the Black Volta. [36]

From colony to independence (1890s–1958) Edit

Starting in the early 1890s during the European Scramble for Africa, a series of European military officers made attempts to claim parts of what is today Burkina Faso. At times these colonialists and their armies fought the local peoples at times they forged alliances with them and made treaties. The colonialist officers and their home governments also made treaties amongst themselves. The territory of Burkina Faso was invaded by France, becoming a French protectorate in 1896. [37]

The eastern and western regions, where a standoff against the forces of the powerful ruler Samori Ture complicated the situation, came under French occupation in 1897. By 1898, the majority of the territory corresponding to Burkina Faso was nominally conquered however, French control of many parts remained uncertain. [26]

The Franco-British Convention of 14 June 1898 created the country's modern borders. In the French territory, a war of conquest against local communities and political powers continued for about five years. In 1904, the largely pacified territories of the Volta basin were integrated into the Upper Senegal and Niger colony of French West Africa as part of the reorganization of the French West African colonial empire. The colony had its capital in Bamako.

The language of colonial administration and schooling became French. The public education system started from humble origins. Advanced education was provided for many years during the colonial period in Dakar.

Draftees from the territory participated in the European fronts of World War I in the battalions of the Senegalese Rifles. Between 1915 and 1916, the districts in the western part of what is now Burkina Faso and the bordering eastern fringe of Mali became the stage of one of the most important armed oppositions to colonial government: the Volta-Bani War. [38]

The French government finally suppressed the movement but only after suffering defeats. It also had to organize its largest expeditionary force of its colonial history to send into the country to suppress the insurrection. Armed opposition wracked the Sahelian north when the Tuareg and allied groups of the Dori region ended their truce with the government.

French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. The French feared a recurrence of armed uprising and had related economic considerations. To bolster its administration, the colonial government separated the present territory of Burkina Faso from Upper Senegal and Niger.

The new colony was named Haute Volta, named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River (the Black, Red and White Volta), and François Charles Alexis Édouard Hesling became its first governor. Hesling initiated an ambitious road-making program to improve infrastructure and promoted the growth of cotton for export. The cotton policy – based on coercion – failed, and revenue generated by the colony stagnated. The colony was dismantled on 5 September 1932, being split between the French colonies of Ivory Coast, French Sudan and Niger. Ivory Coast received the largest share, which contained most of the population as well as the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.

France reversed this change during the period of intense anti-colonial agitation that followed the end of World War II. On 4 September 1947, it revived the colony of Upper Volta, with its previous boundaries, as a part of the French Union. The French designated its colonies as departments of metropolitan France on the European continent.

On 11 December 1958 the colony achieved self-government as the Republic of Upper Volta it joined the Franco-African Community. A revision in the organization of French Overseas Territories had begun with the passage of the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956. This act was followed by reorganization measures approved by the French parliament early in 1957 to ensure a large degree of self-government for individual territories. Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French community on 11 December 1958. Full independence from France was received in 1960. [39]

Upper Volta (1958–1984) Edit

The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta) was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community. The name Upper Volta related to the nation's location along the upper reaches of the Volta River. The river's three tributaries are called the Black, White and Red Volta. These were expressed in the three colors of the former national flag.

Before attaining autonomy, it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On 5 August 1960, it attained full independence from France. The first president, Maurice Yaméogo, was the leader of the Voltaic Democratic Union (UDV). The 1960 constitution provided for election by universal suffrage of a president and a national assembly for five-year terms. Soon after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the UDV. The government lasted until 1966. After much unrest, including mass demonstrations and strikes by students, labor unions, and civil servants, the military intervened.

Lamizana's rule and multiple coups Edit

The 1966 military coup deposed Yaméogo, suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and placed Lt. Col. Sangoulé Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. The army remained in power for four years. On 14 June 1976, the Voltans ratified a new constitution that established a four-year transition period toward complete civilian rule. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s as president of military or mixed civil-military governments. Lamizana's rule coincided with the beginning of the Sahel drought and famine which had a devastating impact on Upper Volta and neighboring countries. After conflict over the 1976 constitution, a new constitution was written and approved in 1977. Lamizana was re-elected by open elections in 1978.

Lamizana's government faced problems with the country's traditionally powerful trade unions, and on 25 November 1980, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Lamizana in a bloodless coup. Colonel Zerbo established the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress as the supreme governmental authority, thus eradicating the 1977 constitution.

Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown two years later by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP) in the 1982 Upper Voltan coup d'état. The CSP continued to ban political parties and organizations, yet promised a transition to civilian rule and a new constitution. [40] [41]

1983 coup d'état Edit

Infighting developed between the right and left factions of the CSP. The leader of the leftists, Capt. Thomas Sankara, was appointed prime minister in January 1983, but was subsequently arrested. Efforts to free him, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaoré, resulted in a military coup d'état on 4 August 1983.

The coup brought Sankara to power and his government began to implement a series of revolutionary programs which included mass-vaccinations, infrastructure improvements, the expansion of women's rights, encouragement of domestic agricultural consumption, and anti-desertification projects. [15]

Burkina Faso (since 1984) Edit

On 2 August 1984, on President Sankara's initiative, the country's name changed from "Upper Volta" to "Burkina Faso", or land of the honest men (the literal translation is land of the upright men.) [42] [43] [ need quotation to verify ] [44] [45] The presidential decree was confirmed by the National Assembly on 4 August. The demonym for people of Burkina Faso, "Burkinabé", includes expatriates or descendants of people of Burkinabé origin.

Sankara's government comprised the National Council for the Revolution (CNR – French: Conseil national révolutionnaire), with Sankara as its president, and established popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs). The Pioneers of the Revolution youth programme was also established.

Sankara launched an ambitious socioeconomic programme for change, one of the largest ever undertaken on the African continent. [15] His foreign policies centred on anti-imperialism, with his government rejecting all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalising all land and mineral wealth and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants, railway and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. [16] [15]

Sankara pushed for agrarian self-sufficiency and promoted public health by vaccinating 2,500,000 children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles. [16] His national agenda also included planting over 10,000,000 trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel. Sankara called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities build schools with their own labour. [15] [46]

1987 coup d'état Edit

On 15 October 1987, Sankara, along with twelve other officials, died in a coup d'état organized by Blaise Compaoré, Sankara's former colleague, who served as Burkina Faso's president from October 1987 until October 2014. [47] After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days. [ citation needed ] A majority [ quantify ] of Burkinabé citizens hold that France's foreign ministry, the Quai d'Orsay, was behind Compaoré in organizing the coup.

Compaoré gave as one of the reasons for the coup the deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries. [48] Compaoré argued that Sankara had jeopardised foreign relations with the former colonial power (France) and with neighbouring Ivory Coast. [14] Following the coup Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara's policies, returned the country back into the IMF fold, and ultimately spurned most of Sankara's legacy. Following an alleged coup-attempt in 1989, Compaoré introduced limited democratic reforms in 1990. Under the new (1991) constitution, Compaoré was re-elected without opposition in December 1991. In 1998 Compaoré won election in a landslide. In 2004, 13 people were tried for plotting a coup against President Compaoré and the coup's alleged mastermind was sentenced to life imprisonment. [49] As of 2014 [update] , Burkina Faso remained one of the least-developed countries in the world. [50]

Compaoré's government played the role of negotiator in several West-African disputes, including the 2010–11 Ivorian crisis, the Inter-Togolese Dialogue (2007), and the 2012 Malian Crisis.

Between February and April 2011, the death of a schoolboy provoked protests throughout the country, coupled with a military mutiny and a magistrates' strike.

October 2014 protests Edit

Starting on 28 October 2014 protesters began to march and demonstrate in Ouagadougou against President Blaise Compaoré, who appeared [ need quotation to verify ] ready to amend the constitution and extend his 27-year rule. On 30 October some protesters set fire to the parliament building [51] and took over the national TV headquarters. [52] Ouagadougou International Airport closed and MPs suspended the vote on changing the constitution (the change would have allowed Compaoré to stand for re-election in 2015). Later in the day, the military dissolved all government institutions and imposed a curfew. [53]

On 31 October 2014, President Compaoré, facing mounting pressure, resigned after 27 years in office. [54] Lt. Col. Isaac Zida said that he would lead the country during its transitional period before the planned 2015 presidential election, but there were concerns [ by whom? ] over his close ties to the former president. [55] In November 2014 opposition parties, civil-society groups and religious leaders adopted a plan for a transitional authority to guide Burkina Faso to elections. [56] Under the plan Michel Kafando became the transitional President of Burkina Faso and Lt. Col. Zida became the acting Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

2015 coup d'état Edit

On 16 September 2015, the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP) seized the country's president and prime minister and then declared the National Council for Democracy the new national government. [57] However, on 22 September 2015, the coup leader, Gilbert Diendéré, apologized and promised to restore civilian government. [58] On 23 September 2015 the prime minister and interim president were restored to power. [59]

November 2015 election Edit

General elections took place in Burkina Faso on 29 November 2015. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won the election in the first round with 53.5% of the vote, defeating businessman Zéphirin Diabré, who took 29.7%. [21] Kaboré was sworn in as president on 29 December 2015. [22]

Terrorist attacks Edit

In February 2016 a terrorist attack occurred at the Splendid Hotel and Capuccino café-bar in the centre of Ouagadougou: 30 people died. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al-Mourabitoun, two groups which until then had mostly operated in neighbouring Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack. Since then, similar groups have carried out numerous [ quantify ] attacks in the northern and eastern parts of the country. One terrorist attack occurred on the evening of Friday, 11 October 2019, on a mosque in the village of Salmossi near the border with Mali, leaving 16 people dead and two injured. [60] [61]

On 8 July 2020, the United States raised concerns after a Human Rights Watch report revealed mass graves with at least 180 bodies, which were found in northern Burkina Faso where soldiers were fighting jihadists. [62]

On June 4, 2021, the Associated Press reported that according to the government of Burkina Faso, gunmen killed at least 100 people in Solhan village in northern Burkina Faso near the Niger border. A local market and several homes were also burned down. A government spokesman blamed jihadists. This was the deadliest attack recorded in Burkina Faso since the West African country was overrun by jihadists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State about five years ago, said Heni Nsaibia, senior researcher at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. [63]

With French help, Blaise Compaoré seized power in a coup d'état in 1987. He overthrew his long-time friend and ally Thomas Sankara, who was killed in the coup. [64]

The constitution of 2 June 1991 established a semi-presidential government: its parliament could be dissolved by the President of the Republic, who was to be elected for a term of seven years. In 2000, the constitution was amended to reduce the presidential term to five years and set term limits to two, preventing successive re-election. The amendment took effect during the 2005 elections. If passed beforehand, it would have prevented Compaoré from being reelected.

Other presidential candidates challenged the election results. But in October 2005, the constitutional council ruled that, because Compaoré was the sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply to him until the end of his second term in office. This cleared the way for his candidacy in the 2005 election. On 13 November 2005, Compaoré was reelected in a landslide, because of a divided political opposition.

In the 2010 Presidential elections, President Compaoré was re-elected. Only 1.6 million Burkinabés voted, out of a total population 10 times that size.

The 2011 Burkinabè protests were a series of popular protests that called for the resignation of Compaoré, democratic reforms, higher wages for troops and public servants and economic freedom. [65] [66] [67] As a result, governors were replaced and wages for public servants were raised. [68] [69]

The parliament consisted of one chamber known as the National Assembly, which had 111 seats with members elected to serve five-year terms. There was also a constitutional chamber, composed of ten members, and an economic and social council whose roles were purely consultative. The 1991 constitution created a bicameral parliament, but the upper house (Chamber of Representatives) was abolished in 2002.

The Compaoré administration had worked to decentralize power by devolving some of its powers to regions and municipal authorities. But the widespread distrust of politicians and lack of political involvement by many residents complicated this process. Critics described this as a hybrid decentralisation. [70]

Political freedoms are severely restricted in Burkina Faso. Human rights organizations had criticised the Compaoré administration for numerous acts of state-sponsored violence against journalists and other politically active members of society. [71] [72]

In mid-September 2015 the Kafando government, along with the rest of the post-October 2014 political order, was temporarily overthrown in a coup attempt by the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP). They installed Gilbert Diendéré as chairman of the new National Council for Democracy. [19] On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power. [73] [74] The national elections were subsequently rescheduled for 29 November.

Kaboré won the election in the first round of voting, receiving 53.5% of the vote against 29.7% for the second place candidate, Zephirin Diabré. [21] He was sworn in as president on 29 December 2015. [22] The BBC described the president as a "French-educated banker . [who] sees himself as a social democrat, and has pledged to reduce youth unemployment, improve education and healthcare, and make health provision for children under six free of charge". [75]

The prime minister is head of government and is appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly. He is responsible for recommending a cabinet for appointment by the president. Paul Kaba Thieba was appointed PM in early 2016. [76]

According to a World Bank Report in late 2018, the political climate was stable the government was facing "social discontent marked by major strikes and protests, organized by unions in several economic sectors, to demand salary increases and social benefits . and increasingly frequent jihadist attacks". The next elections would be held in 2020. [77]

Constitution Edit

In 2015, Kaboré promised to revise the 1991 constitution. The revision was completed in 2018. One condition prevents any individual from serving as president for more than ten years either consecutively or intermittently and provides a method for impeaching a president. A referendum on the constitution for the Fifth Republic was scheduled for 24 March 2019. [78]

Certain rights are also enshrined in the revised wording: access to drinking water, access to decent housing and a recognition of the right to civil disobedience, for example. The referendum was required because the opposition parties in Parliament refused to sanction the proposed text. [79]

Foreign relations Edit

Military Edit

The army consists of some 6,000 men in voluntary service, augmented by a part-time national People's Militia composed of civilians between 25 and 35 years of age who are trained in both military and civil duties. According to Jane's Sentinel Country Risk Assessment, Burkina Faso's Army is undermanned for its force structure and poorly equipped, but has wheeled light-armour vehicles, and may have developed useful combat expertise through interventions in Liberia and elsewhere in Africa.

In terms of training and equipment, the regular Army is believed to be neglected in relation to the élite Regiment of Presidential Security (French: Régiment de la Sécurité Présidentielle – RSP). Reports have emerged in recent years of disputes over pay and conditions. [80] There is an air force with some 19 operational aircraft, but no navy, as the country is landlocked. Military expenses constitute approximately 1.2% of the nation's GDP.

In April 2011, there was an army mutiny the president named new chiefs of staff, and a curfew was imposed in Ouagadougou. [81]

Law enforcement Edit

Burkina Faso employs numerous police and security forces, generally modeled after organizations used by French police. France continues to provide significant support and training to police forces. The Gendarmerie Nationale is organized along military lines, with most police services delivered at the brigade level. The Gendarmerie operates under the authority of the Minister of Defence, and its members are employed chiefly in the rural areas and along borders. [82]

There is a municipal police force controlled by the Ministry of Territorial Administration a national police force controlled by the Ministry of Security and an autonomous Regiment of Presidential Security (Régiment de la Sécurité Présidentielle, or RSP), a 'palace guard' devoted to the protection of the President of the Republic. Both the gendarmerie and the national police are subdivided into both administrative and judicial police functions the former are detailed to protect public order and provide security, the latter are charged with criminal investigations. [82]

All foreigners and citizens are required to carry photo ID passports, or other forms of identification or risk a fine, and police spot identity checks are commonplace for persons traveling by auto, bush-taxi, or bus. [83] [84]

Administrative divisions Edit

The country is divided into 13 administrative regions. These regions encompass 45 provinces and 301 departments. Each region is administered by a governor.

Burkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W and 3°E.

It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrian massif. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 m (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 m (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 m (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.

The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakambé) and the Red Volta (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country's only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komoé, which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country's surface.

The Niger's tributaries – the Béli, Gorouol, Goudébo, and Dargol – are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still can flood and overflow, however. The country also contains numerous lakes – the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam, and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, Béli, Yomboli, and Markoye. Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.

Burkina Faso lies within two terrestrial ecoregions: Sahelian Acacia savanna and West Sudanian savanna. [85]

Climate Edit

Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 60 and 90 cm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall in the dry season, the harmattan – a hot dry wind from the Sahara – blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June to September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel in the north typically receives less than 60 cm (23.6 in) [86] of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5–47 °C (41–117 °F).

A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the south. Situated between 11°3' and 13°5' north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 90 cm (35.4 in) [86] of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.

Geographic and environmental causes can also play a significant role in contributing to Burkina Faso's issue of food insecurity. [87] As the country is situated in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso experiences some of the most radical climatic variation in the world, ranging from severe flooding to extreme drought. [88] The unpredictable climatic shock that Burkina Faso citizens often face results in strong difficulties in being able to rely on and accumulate wealth through agricultural means. [89]

Burkina Faso's climate also renders its crops vulnerable to insect attacks, including attacks from locusts and crickets, which destroy crops and further inhibit food production. [90] Not only is most of the population of Burkina Faso dependent on agriculture as a source of income, but they also rely on the agricultural sector for food that will directly feed the household. [91] Due to the vulnerability of agriculture, more and more families are having to look for other sources of non-farm income, [92] and often have to travel outside of their regional zone to find work. [91]

Natural resources Edit

Burkina Faso's natural resources include gold, manganese, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, and salt.

Wildlife Edit

Burkina Faso has a larger number of elephants than many countries in West Africa. Lions, leopards and buffalo can also be found here, including the dwarf or red buffalo, a smaller reddish-brown animal which looks like a fierce kind of short-legged cow. Other large predators live in Burkina Faso, such as the cheetah, the caracal or African lynx, the spotted hyena and the African wild dog, one of the continent's most endangered species. [93]

Burkina Faso's fauna and flora are protected in four national parks:

  • The W National Park in the east which passes Burkina Faso, Benin, and Niger
  • The Arly Wildlife Reserve (Arly National Park in the east)
  • The Léraba-Comoé Classified Forest and Partial Reserve of Wildlife in the west
  • The Mare aux Hippopotames in the west

The value of Burkina Faso's exports fell from $2.77 billion in 2011 to $754 million in 2012. [94] Agriculture represents 32% of its gross domestic product and occupies 80% of the working population. It consists mostly of rearing livestock. Especially in the south and southwest, the people grow crops of sorghum, pearl millet, maize (corn), peanuts, rice and cotton, with surpluses to be sold. A large part of the economic activity of the country is funded by international aid, despite having gold ores in abundance.

The top five export commodities in 2017 were as follows, in order of importance: gems and precious metals, US$1.9 billion (78.5% of total exports), cotton, $198.7 million (8.3%), ores, slag, ash, $137.6 million (5.8%), fruits, nuts: $76.6 million (3.2%) and oil seeds: $59.5 million (2.5%). [95]

A December 2018 report from the World Bank indicates that in 2017, economic growth increased to 6.4% in 2017 (vs. 5.9% in 2016) primarily due to gold production and increased investment in infrastructure. The increase in consumption linked to growth of the wage bill also supported economic growth. Inflation remained low, 0.4% that year but the public deficit grew to 7.7% of GDP (vs. 3.5% in 2016). The government was continuing to get financial aid and loans to finance the debt. To finance the public deficit, the Government combined concessional aid and borrowing on the regional market. The World Bank said that the economic outlook remained favorable in the short and medium term, although that could be negatively impacted. Risks included high oil prices (imports), lower prices of gold and cotton (exports) as well as terrorist threat and labour strikes. [77]

Burkina Faso is part of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UMEOA) and has adopted the CFA franc. This is issued by the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO), situated in Dakar, Senegal. The BCEAO manages the monetary and reserve policy of the member states, and provides regulation and oversight of financial sector and banking activity. A legal framework regarding licensing, bank activities, organizational and capital requirements, inspections and sanctions (all applicable to all countries of the Union) is in place, having been reformed significantly in 1999. Microfinance institutions are governed by a separate law, which regulates microfinance activities in all WAEMU countries. The insurance sector is regulated through the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA). [96]

In 2018, tourism was almost non-existent in large parts of the country. The U.S. government (and others) warn their citizens not to travel into large parts of Burkina Faso: "The northern Sahel border region shared with Mali and Niger due to crime and terrorism. The provinces of Kmoandjari, Tapoa, Kompienga, and Gourma in East Region due to crime and terrorism". [97]

The 2018 CIA World Factbook provides this updated summary. "Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. Irregular patterns of rainfall, poor soil, and the lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure contribute to the economy's vulnerability to external shocks. About 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso's key exports . The country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports.

While the end of the political crisis has allowed Burkina Faso's economy to resume positive growth, the country's fragile security situation could put these gains at risk. Political insecurity in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose long-term challenges." The report also highlights the 2018–2020 International Monetary Fund program, including the government's plan to "reduce the budget deficit and preserve critical spending on social services and priority public investments". [24]

A 2018 report by the African Development Bank Group discussed a macroeconomic evolution: "higher investment and continued spending on social services and security that will add to the budget deficit". This group's prediction for 2018 indicated that the budget deficit would be reduced to 4.8% of GDP in 2018 and to 2.9% in 2019. Public debt associated with the National Economic and Social Development Plan was estimated at 36.9% of GDP in 2017. [98]

Burkina Faso is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). [99] The country also belongs to the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. [100]

Mining Edit

There is mining of copper, iron, manganese, gold, cassiterite (tin ore), and phosphates. [101] These operations provide employment and generate international aid. Gold production increased 32% in 2011 at six gold mine sites, making Burkina Faso the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa, after South Africa, Mali and Ghana. [102]

A 2018 report indicated that the country expected record 55 tonnes of gold in that year, a two-thirds increase over 2013. According to Oumarou Idani, there is a more important issue. "We have to diversify production. We mostly only produce gold, but we have huge potential in manganese, zinc, lead, copper, nickel and limestone". [103]

According to the Global Hunger Index, a multidimensional tool used to measure and track a country's hunger levels, [104] Burkina Faso ranked 65 out of 78 countries in 2013. [105] It is estimated that there are currently over 1.5 million children who are at risk of food insecurity in Burkina Faso, with around 350,000 children who are in need of emergency medical assistance. [105] However, only about a third of these children will actually receive adequate medical attention. [106] Only 11.4 percent of children under the age of two receive the daily recommended number of meals. [105] Stunted growth as a result of food insecurity is a severe problem in Burkina Faso, affecting at least a third of the population from 2008 to 2012. [107] Additionally, stunted children, on average, tend to complete less school than children with normal growth development, [106] further contributing to the low levels of education of the Burkina Faso population. [108]

The European Commission expects that approximately 500,000 children under age 5 in Burkina Faso will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2015, including around 149,000 who will suffer from its most life-threatening form. [109] Rates of micronutrient deficiencies are also high. [110] According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS 2010), 49 percent of women and 88 percent of children under the age of five suffer from anemia. [110] Forty percent of infant deaths can be attributed to malnutrition, and in turn, these infant mortality rates have decreased Burkina Faso's total work force by 13.6 percent, demonstrating how food security affects more aspects of life beyond health. [105]

These high rates of food insecurity and the accompanying effects are even more prevalent in rural populations compared to urban ones, as access to health services in rural areas is much more limited and awareness and education of children's nutritional needs is lower. [111]

An October 2018 report by USAid stated that droughts and floods remained problematic, and that "violence and insecurity are disrupting markets, trade and livelihoods activities in some of Burkina Faso's northern and eastern areas". The report estimated that over 954,300 people needed food security support, and that, according to UNICEF, an "estimated 187,200 children under 5 years of age will experience severe acute malnutrition". Agencies providing assistance at the time included USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) working with the UN World Food Programme, the NGO Oxfam Intermón and ACDI/VOCA. [112]

Approaches to improving food security Edit

World Food Programme Edit

The United Nations’ World Food Programme has worked on programs that are geared towards increasing food security in Burkina Faso. The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation 200509 (PRRO) was formed to respond to the high levels of malnutrition in Burkina Faso, following the food and nutrition crisis in 2012. [113] The efforts of this project are mostly geared towards the treatment and prevention of malnutrition and include take home rations for the caretakers of those children who are being treated for malnutrition. [113] Additionally, the activities of this operation contribute to families' abilities to withstand future food crises. Better nutrition among the two most vulnerable groups, young children and pregnant women, prepares them to be able to respond better in times when food security is compromised, such as in droughts. [113]

The Country Programme (CP) has two parts: food and nutritional assistance to people with HIV/AIDS, and a school feeding program for all primary schools in the Sahel region. [114] The HIV/AIDS nutrition program aims to better the nutritional recovery of those who are living with HIV/AIDS and to protect at-risk children and orphans from malnutrition and food security. [114] As part of the school feeding component, the Country Programme's goals are to increase enrollment and attendance in schools in the Sahel region, where enrollment rates are below the national average. [113] Furthermore, the program aims at improving gender parity rates in these schools, by providing girls with high attendance in the last two years of primary school with take-home rations of cereals as an incentive to households, encouraging them to send their girls to school. [113]

The WFP concluded the formation of a subsequently approved plan in August 2018 "to support the Government's vision of 'a democratic, unified and united nation, transforming the structure of its economy and achieving a strong and inclusive growth through patterns of sustainable consumption and production.' It will take important steps in WFP's new strategic direction for strengthened national and local capacities to enable the Government and communities to own, manage, and implement food and nutrition security programmes by 2030". [115]

World Bank Edit

The World Bank was established in 1944, and comprises five institutions whose shared goals are to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the lower forty percent of every country. [116] One of the main projects the World Bank is working on to reduce food insecurity in Burkina Faso is the Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project. [117] According to the World Bank, the objective of this project is to "improve the capacity of poor producers to increase food production and to ensure improved availability of food products in rural markets." [117] The Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project has three main parts. Its first component is to work towards the improvement of food production, including financing grants and providing 'voucher for work' programs for households who cannot pay their contribution in cash. [117] The project's next component involves improving the ability of food products, particularly in rural areas. [117] This includes supporting the marketing of food products, and aims to strengthen the capabilities of stakeholders to control the variability of food products and supplies at local and national levels. [117] Lastly, the third component of this project focuses on institutional development and capacity building. Its goal is to reinforce the capacities of service providers and institutions who are specifically involved in project implementation. [117] The project's activities aim to build capacities of service providers, strengthen the capacity of food producer organizations, strengthen agricultural input supply delivery methods, and manage and evaluate project activities. [117]

The December 2018 report by the World Bank indicated that the poverty rate fell slightly between 2009 and 2014, from 46% to a still high 40.1%. The report provided this updated summary of the country's development challenges: "Burkina Faso remains vulnerable to climatic shocks related to changes in rainfall patterns and to fluctuations in the prices of its export commodities on world markets. Its economic and social development will, to some extent, be contingent on political stability in the country and the subregion, its openness to international trade, and export diversification". [118]

Food security Edit

Burkina Faso is faced with high levels of food insecurity. [113] As defined by the 1996 World Food Summit, "food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle." [119] There has not been much successful improvement on this issue of food security within recent years. [113] Burkina Faso's rapidly growing population (around 3.6% annually) continues to put a strain on the country's resources and infrastructure, which can further limit accessibility to food. [120]

Because the country is landlocked and prone to natural disasters, including drought and floods, many families struggle to protect themselves from severe hunger. [113] While recent harvest productions have improved some, much of the population is still having a hard time overcoming the continuous food and nutrition crises of the past decade. [109] Malnutrition is especially common in women and children, with large amounts of the population suffering from stunted growth and micronutrient deficiencies such as anemia. [121] Food insecurity has grown to be a structural problem in Burkina Faso, only to be intensified by high food prices. All of these factors combined with high poverty levels have left Burkina Faso vulnerable to chronic high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. [113]

Social and economic causes Edit

Poverty continues to be strongly linked to food insecurity. [122] As one of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has around 43.7% of its population living under the Poverty Line [123] and ranked 185 out of 188 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index in 2015. [113] The Human Development Index is a measure of quality of life, taking into account three main areas of human development: longevity, education, and economic standard of living. [124] These high levels of poverty found in Burkina Faso, combined with the soaring food prices of the global food crisis continue to contribute to Burkina Faso's issue of food insecurity. [125] The global food crisis of 2007–2008 was a drastic surge in food prices that led to high rates of hunger, malnutrition, and political and economic instability in nations across the globe. [126] This strongly affected Burkina Faso because around 80% of Burkina Faso's population is rural, relying on subsistence farming to make a living. [109] For instance, when natural disasters such as floods, droughts, or locust attacks occur and cause crops to fail, farmers in Burkina Faso become dependent on grain purchases. [127] Because of the global food crisis, local grain prices dramatically increased, limiting farmers' access to grain through market exchanges. [127]

Water Edit

While services remain underdeveloped, the National Office for Water and Sanitation (ONEA), a state-owned utility company run along commercial lines, is emerging as one of the best-performing utility companies in Africa. [128] High levels of autonomy and a skilled and dedicated management have driven ONEA's ability to improve production of and access to clean water. [128]

Since 2000, nearly 2 million more people have access to water in the four principal urban centres in the country the company has kept the quality of infrastructure high (less than 18% of the water is lost through leaks – one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa), improved financial reporting, and increased its annual revenue by an average of 12% (well above inflation). [128] Challenges remain, including difficulties among some customers in paying for services, with the need to rely on international aid to expand its infrastructure. [128] The state-owned, commercially run venture has helped the nation reach its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in water-related areas, and has grown as a viable company. [128]

However, access to drinking water has improved over the last 28 years. According to UNICEF, access to drinking water has increased from 39 to 76% in rural areas between 1990 and 2015. In this same time span, access to drinking water increased from 75 to 97% in urban areas. [129]

Electricity Edit

A 33-megawatt solar power plant in Zagtouli, near Ouagadougou, came online in late November 2017. At the time of its construction, it was the largest solar power facility in West Africa. [130]

Other Edit

The growth rate in Burkina Faso is high although it continues to be plagued by corruption and incursions from terrorist groups from Mali and Niger. [131]

Transport Edit

Transport in Burkina Faso is limited by relatively underdeveloped infrastructure.

As of June 2014 the main international airport, Ouagadougou Airport, had regularly scheduled flights to many destinations in West Africa as well as Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. The other international airport, Bobo Dioulasso Airport, has flights to Ouagadougou and Abidjan.

Rail transport in Burkina Faso consists of a single line which runs from Kaya to Abidjan in Ivory Coast via Ouagadougou, Koudougou, Bobo Dioulasso and Banfora. Sitarail operates a passenger train three times a week along the route. [132]

There are 15,000 kilometres of roads in Burkina Faso, of which 2,500 kilometres are paved. [133]

In 2009, Burkina Faso spent 0.20% of GDP on research and development (R&D), one of the lowest ratios in West Africa. There were 48 researchers (in full-time equivalents) per million inhabitants in 2010, which is more than twice the average for sub-Saharan Africa (20 per million population in 2013) and higher than the ratio for Ghana and Nigeria (39). It is, however, much lower than the ratio for Senegal (361 per million inhabitants). In Burkina Faso in 2010, 46% of researchers were working in the health sector, 16% in engineering, 13% in natural sciences, 9% in agricultural sciences, 7% in the humanities and 4% in social sciences. [134]

In January 2011, the government created the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation. Up until then, management of science, technology and innovation had fallen under the Department of Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research. Within this ministry, the Directorate General for Research and Sector Statistics is responsible for planning. A separate body, the Directorate General of Scientific Research, Technology and Innovation, co-ordinates research. This is a departure from the pattern in many other West African countries where a single body fulfils both functions. The move signals the government's intention to make science and technology a development priority. [134]

In 2012, Burkina Faso adopted a National Policy for Scientific and Technical Research, the strategic objectives of which are to develop R&D and the application and commercialization of research results. The policy also makes provisions for strengthening the ministry's strategic and operational capacities. One of the key priorities is to improve food security and self-sufficiency by boosting capacity in agricultural and environmental sciences. The creation of a centre of excellence in 2014 at the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou within the World Bank project provides essential funding for capacity-building in these priority areas. [134]

A dual priority is to promote innovative, effective and accessible health systems. The government wishes to develop, in parallel, applied sciences and technology and social and human sciences. To complement the national research policy, the government has prepared a National Strategy to Popularize Technologies, Inventions and Innovations (2012) and a National Innovation Strategy (2014). Other policies also incorporate science and technology, such as that on Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research (2010), the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security (2014) and the National Programme for the Rural Sector (2011). [134]

In 2013, Burkina Faso passed the Science, Technology and Innovation Act establishing three mechanisms for financing research and innovation, a clear indication of high-level commitment. These mechanisms are the National Fund for Education and Research, the National Fund for Research and Innovation for Development and the Forum of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation. [134]

Demographics Edit

Burkina Faso is an ethnically integrated, secular state where most people are concentrated in the south and centre, where their density sometimes exceeds 48 persons per square kilometre (125/sq. mi.). Hundreds of thousands of Burkinabè migrate regularly to Ivory Coast and Ghana, mainly for seasonal agricultural work. These flows of workers are affected by external events the September 2002 coup attempt in Ivory Coast and the ensuing fighting meant that hundreds of thousands of Burkinabè returned to Burkina Faso. The regional economy suffered when they were unable to work. [137]

In 2015, most of the population belonged to "one of two West African ethnic cultural groups: the Voltaic and the Mande. Voltaic Mossi make up about 50% of the population and are descended from warriors who moved to the area from Ghana around 1100, establishing an empire that lasted over 800 years". [10]

The total fertility rate of Burkina Faso is 5.93 children born per woman (2014 estimates), the sixth highest in the world. [138]

In 2009 the U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report reported that slavery in Burkina Faso continued to exist and that Burkinabè children were often the victims. [139] Slavery in the Sahel states in general, is an entrenched institution with a long history that dates back to the trans-Saharan slave trade. [140] In 2018, an estimated 82,000 people in the country were living under "modern slavery" according to the Global Slavery Index. [141]

Ethnic groups Edit

Burkina Faso's 17.3 million people belong to two major West African ethnic cultural groups—the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from northern Ghana around 1100 AD. They established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is led by the Mogho Naba, whose court is in Ouagadougou. [137]

Bilateral Trade by Sector: United States - Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a former French colony that achieved independence in 1960. Totally landlocked, the country is nestled between Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. It is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with relatively few natural resources. It relies heavily on cotton and gold exports for revenue.

The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop. Since 1998, Burkina Faso has embarked upon a gradual privatization of state-owned enterprises and in 2004 revised its investment code to attract foreign investment. As a result of this new code and other legislation favoring the mining sector, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration and production.

By 2010, gold had become the main source of export revenue. Gold mining production doubled between 2009 and 2010. Two new mining projects were launched the third quarter of 2011. Local community conflict persists in the mining and cotton sectors, but the Prime Minister has made efforts to defuse some of the economic cause of public discontent, including announcing income tax reductions, reparations for looting victims, and subsidies for basic food items and fertilizer. An IMF mission to Burkina Faso in October 2011 expressed general satisfaction with the measures. The risk of a mass exodus of the 3 to 4 million Burinabe who live and work in Cote D'Ivoire has dissipated, and trade, power, and transport links are being restored. Burkina Faso experienced a severe drought in 2011 which decimated grazing land and decreased harvests, creating food insecurity and damaging the country's agricultural base. (Source: World Factbook, 2013)

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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.

Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.

In 2014 protests and mass uprising in Burkina led to the overthrow of long-serving ruler Blaise Compaore. Blaise Compaore has managed to run down one of the poorest countries on the planet for 27 years.

Local Time = UTC (+-0 no UTC/GMT offset)
Actual Time: Fri-June-18 08:29

Capital City: Ouagadougou (pop.1 million)

Other Cities: Bobo-Dioulasso (450,000), Koudougou (90,000), Banfora, Dori, Fada N'Gourma, Ouahigouy.

Type: Parliamentary Republic
Independence: 5 August 1960 (from France).
Constitution: 11 June 1991 formally adopted amended April 2000.

Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana.
Area: 274,200 km² (106,000 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Savanna brushy plains and scattered hills.

Climate: Sahelian pronounced wet and dry seasons.

Nationality: Burkinabe (accent on last e).
Population: 19 million (2016)
Ethnic groups: 63 ethnic groups among which are Mossi (almost half of the total population), Bobo, Mande, Lobi, Fulani, Gourounsi, and Sénoufo.
Religions: Muslim 55%, Christian 25%, Traditional beliefs 20%.
Languages: French, Mooré, Dioula, Fulfuldé, others.
Literacy: 30%

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

Agriculture products: Cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice livestock

Industries: Cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold.

Exports - commodities: gold, cotton, livestock

Exports partners: Switzerland 53.3%, India 14.5% (2015)

Imports - commodities: capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports partners: Cote dIvoire 23.1%, France 11.1%, Togo 7.5%, China 4.8%, Ghana 4.6% (2015)

Official Sites of Burkina Faso

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Government of Burkina Faso
Official website of the Government of Burkina Faso (in French)

Ministère des Affaires Etrangères
Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic Missions:
Embassy of Burkina Faso to the US
Official website of the embassy, located at Washington D. C.
Ambassade du Burkina Faso en Belgique
Burkina's embassy at Belgium, provides country and travel information.
Ambassade du Burkina à Paris
Burkina's embassy in France.

Institut National de la Statistique et de la Demographie (INSD)
Statistical and other information by National Institute of Statistic and Demographics.

Map of Burkina Faso
Political map of Burkina Faso showing Burkina's provinces, cities and towns.
Administrative Map of Burkina Faso
Map of the 45 administrative provinces of Burkina Faso.

Google Earth Burkina Faso
Searchable map/satellite view of Burkina Faso.
Google Earth Ouagadougou
Searchable map/satellite view of Burkina Faso's capital city.

Burkina news (in French)
Press review (in French).
L'Observateur Paalga
Burkina daily (in French)
Le Pays
Burkina Faso daily news (in French).
Sidwaya Quotidien
Daily news from Burkina Faso (in French).

Arts & Culture

Ministère des Arts et de la Culture
Ministry of Art and Culture of Burkina Faso.

Museum of Manéga
Manega Bendrologie Museum - mystics and cultures of Sahelian nations.

Musée des civilisations du sud-ouest
Museum devoted to the history, arts and the traditions of the people of south-west: Gan and Lobi.

Business & Economy

Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
Central Bank of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. These countries comprise the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (in French), le portail de la Zone Franc CFA
Information about business and investment in the African countries within the monetary system of the Franc Zone - CFA. (in French)

Salon International de l'Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO)
Annual International Arts and crafts fair in Ouagadougou.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Burkina Faso - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou (capital and center of the Mossi Empire), Moro-Naba Ceremony (weekly Mossi show with a horse and traditional beer, and kola nut drinks), National Museum Ouagadougou (masks, ancestral statues and traditional costumes), Bobo Dioulasso (city with small-town Sahelian charm), Karfiguéla Falls at Komoé river, Tiébélé (Sahelian culture, stylish painted earthen huts),
Mare aux Hippopotames (Hippo Lake, a biosphere reserve with a lake and a national park in the floodplain of the Volta Noire River).

Travel and tourism information on Burkina Faso (in French).
Tourism, Travel, & Information Guide to Burkina Faso.

Le Pays Lobi
Geography, history, and society of the Lobi (in French).
Le Pays Kassena
Geography, history, and society of the Kassena people (in French).
Le Pays Sénoufo
Geography, history, and society of the Sénoufo nation (in French).

Commune de Ouagadougou
Official website of the capital city.

ABC Burkina
Discover the rural world of Burkina Faso.
Photogallery of the Dogon people.

Watch the video: Do You Know Burkina Faso Basic Information World Countries Information #27 - GK u0026 Quizzes


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