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Burkina Faso, See : Flags, Maps

Burkina Faso (Africa)

Introduction ::Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Current President Blaise COMPAORE came to power in a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then. 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.

Geography ::Burkina Faso

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Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates:
13 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references:



total: 274,200 sq km country comparison to the world: 74 land: 273,800 sq km

water: 400 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries:

total: 3,193 km

border countries: Benin 306 km, Cote d'Ivoire 584 km, Ghana 549 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers


mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m

highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m

Natural resources:

manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt

Land use:

arable land: 17.66%

permanent crops: 0.22%

other: 82.12% (2005)

Irrigated land:

250 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

17.5 cu km (2001)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.8 cu km/yr (13%/1%/86%)

per capita: 60 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

recurring droughts

Environment - current issues:

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

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas

People ::Burkina Faso


16,241,811 country comparison to the world: 61 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 46.2% (male 3,646,661/female 3,621,648)

15-64 years: 51.3% (male 4,025,917/female 4,054,865)

65 years and over: 2.5% (male 156,895/female 240,246) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 16.8 years

male: 16.6 years

female: 17 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

3.095% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 12

Birth rate:

43.98 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 5

Death rate:

13.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 23

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 80


urban population: 20% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 82.98 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 12 male: 90.53 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 75.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 53.32 years country comparison to the world: 203 male: 51.39 years

female: 55.31 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

6.21 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 6

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.6% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 38

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

130,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 40

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

9,200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 34

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: malaria and yellow fever

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

animal contact disease: rabies

note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)


noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)

adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups:

Mossi over 40%, other approximately 60% (includes Gurunsi, Senufo,
Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani)


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


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


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 21.8%

male: 29.4%

female: 15.2% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 6 years

male: 7 years

female: 6 years (2009)

Education expenditures:

4.6% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 86

Government ::Burkina Faso

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Burkina Faso

local long form: none

local short form: Burkina Faso

former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta

Government type:

parliamentary republic


name: Ouagadougou

geographic coordinates: 12 22 N, 1 31 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

45 provinces; Bale, Bam, Banwa, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou,
Boulkiemde, Comoe, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houet, Ioba, Kadiogo,
Kenedougou, Komondjari, Kompienga, Kossi, Koulpelogo, Kouritenga,
Kourweogo, Leraba, Loroum, Mouhoun, Nahouri, Namentenga, Nayala,
Noumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga,
Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro,
Zondoma, Zoundweogo


5 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 11 December (1958); note - commemorates the day that
Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French Community


approved by referendum 2 June 1991; formally adopted 11 June 1991; last amended January 2002

Legal system:

based on French civil law system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)

head of government: Prime Minister Tertius ZONGO (since 4 June 2007)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 November 2010 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature

election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president; percent of popular vote - Blaise COMPAORE 80.2%, Hama Arba DIALLO 8.2%, Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 6.3%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (111 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: National Assembly election last held on 6 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDP 73, ADF-RDA 14, UPR 5, UNIR-MS 4, CFD-B 3, UPS 2, PDP-PS 2, RDB 2, PDS 2, PAREN 1, PAI 1, RPC 1, UDPS 1

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; Appeals Court

Political parties and leaders:

African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or
ADF-RDA [Gilbert OUEDRAOGO]; Citizen's Popular Rally or RPC [Antoine
QUARE]; Coalition of Democratic Forces of Burkina or CFD-B [Amadou
Diemdioda DICKO]; Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Roch
Marc-Christian KABORE]; Democratic and Popular Rally or RDP [Nana
THIBAUT]; Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Nayabtigungou
Congo KABORE]; Party for African Independence or PAI [Soumane
TOURE]; Party for Democracy and Progress-Socialist Party or PDP-PS
[Ali LANKOANDE]; Party for Democracy and Socialism or PDS [Felix
SOUBEIGA]; Party for National Rebirth or PAREN [Jeanne TRAORE];
Rally for the Development of Burkina or RDB [Antoine KARGOUGOU];
Rally of Ecologists of Burkina Faso or RDEB [Ram OUEDRAGO];
Republican Party for Integration and Solidarity or PARIS; Union for
Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Fidele HIEN]; Union for
Rebirth - Sankarist Movement or UNIR-MS [Benewende STANISLAS]; Union
for the Republic or UPR [Toussaint Abel COULIBALY]; Union of
Sankarist Parties or UPS [Ernest Nongma OUEDRAOGO]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Burkinabe General Confederation of Labor or CGTB [Tole SAGNON];
Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights or MBDHP [Chrysigone ZOUGMORE];
Group of 14 February [Benewende STANISLAS]; National Confederation
of Burkinabe Workers or CNTB [Laurent OUEDRAOGO]; National
Organization of Free Unions or ONSL [Paul KABORE]

other: watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Paramanga Ernest YONLI

chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas DOUGHERTY

embassy: 602 Avenue Raoul Follereau, Koulouba, Secteur 4

mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - US Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440

telephone: [226] 50-30-67-23
FAX: [226] 50-30-38-90

Flag description:

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; red recalls the country's struggle for independence, green is for hope and abundance,and yellow represents the country's mineral wealth

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National anthem:

name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)

lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA

note: adopted 1974; also known as "Une Seule Nuit" (One Single Night), Burkina Faso"s anthem was written by the country"s president, an avid guitar player

Economy ::Burkina Faso

Economy - overview:

Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$20.06 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 124 $19.07 billion (2009 est.)

$18.48 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$8.672 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 50 3.2% (2009 est.)

5.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,200 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 204 $1,200 (2009 est.)

$1,200 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 30.1%

industry: 20.7%

services: 49.2% (2009 est.)

Labor force:

6.668 million country comparison to the world: 64 note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2007)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 90%

industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

77% (2004) country comparison to the world: 197

Population below poverty line:

46.4% (2004)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 32.2% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

39.5 (2007) country comparison to the world: 64 48.2 (1994)

Investment (gross fixed):

19.7% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 90

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 32 2.6% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 103 4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

NA% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$1.416 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 127 $1.303 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$2.406 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 139 $2.22 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.373 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 138 $1.236 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock


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

Industrial production growth rate:

5.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 59

Electricity - production:

611.6 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 155

Electricity - consumption:

568.8 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 158

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 201

Oil - consumption:

9,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 152

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 206

Oil - imports:

8,283 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 144

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 197

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 115

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 197

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Current account balance:

-$486 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 115 -$330 million (2009 est.)


$991 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 151 $772 million (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

cotton, livestock, gold

Exports - partners:

Singapore 16.76%, Belgium 12.78%, China 7.59%, Ghana 6.89%, India 6.36%, Denmark 5.76%, Niger 5.13%, Thailand 4.52% (2009)


$1.48 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 162 $1.186 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports - partners:

Cote d'Ivoire 24.31%, France 19.48%, Togo 6.42% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$1.588 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 105 $1.296 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$2.002 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 139 $1.784 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 506.04 (2010), 472.19 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006)

Communications ::Burkina Faso

Telephones - main lines in use:

167,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 132

Telephones - mobile cellular:

3.299 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 109

Telephone system:

general assessment: system includes microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations; in 2006 the government sold a 51 percent stake in the national telephone company and ultimately plans to retain only a 23 percent stake in the company

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, fostered by multiple providers, is increasing rapidly from a low base

international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

2 TV stations - 1 state-owned and 1 privately-owned; state-owned radio runs a national and regional network; substantial number of privately-owned radio broadcast stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters available in Ouagadougou (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1,877 (2010) country comparison to the world: 155

Internet users:

178,100 (2009) country comparison to the world: 144

Transportation ::Burkina Faso


24 (2010) country comparison to the world: 132

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 22

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 12

under 914 m: 6 (2010)


total: 622 km country comparison to the world: 109 narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge

note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2008)


total: 92,495 km country comparison to the world: 53 paved: 3,857 km

unpaved: 88,638 km (2004)

Military ::Burkina Faso

Military branches:

Army, Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso,
FABF), National Gendarmerie (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in supporting roles (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 3,608,963 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,280,776

females age 16-49: 2,278,474 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 188,394

female: 185,975 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.2% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 120

Transnational Issues ::Burkina Faso

Disputes - international:

in September 2007, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened to attempt to resolve the dispute over two villages along the Benin-Burkina Faso border that remain from a 2005 ICJ decision; in recent years citizens and rogue security forces rob and harass local populations on both sides of the poorly defined Burkina Faso-Niger border; despite the presence of more than 9,000 UN forces (UNOCI) in Cote d'Ivoire since 2004, ethnic conflict continues to spread into neighboring states that can no longer send their migrant workers to work in Ivorian cocoa plantations


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