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Map of Burkina Faso
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. 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
Western Africa, north of Ghana
Geographic coordinates:
13 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references:
total: 274,200 sq km
water: 400 sq km
land: 273,800 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, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates, zinc, silver
Land use:
arable land: 14.43%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 85.38% (2001)
Irrigated land:
250 sq km (1998 est.)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas
People Burkina Faso
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 3,135,098; female 3,114,354)
15-64 years: 51.1% (male 3,391,848; female 3,545,115)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 163,137; female 225,268) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 16.8 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 17.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.57% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
44.46 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
18.79 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 98.67 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 90.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 106.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 44.2 years
male: 42.62 years
female: 45.83 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
6.28 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
4.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
300,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
29,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
typhoid fever, malaria, schistosomiasis
overall degree of risk: very high (2004)
noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe
Ethnic groups:
Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, 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: 26.6%
male: 36.9%
female: 16.6% (2003 est.)
Government Burkina Faso
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
Government type:
parliamentary republic
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, Namentenga, Nahouri, 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)
2 June 1991 approved by referendum; 11 June 1991 formally adopted; ammended April 2000
Legal system:
based on French civil law system and customary law
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga YONLI (since 6 November 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 15 November 1998 (next to be held NA 2005); in April 2000, the constitution was amended reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005, and allowing the president to be reelected only once; it is unclear whether this amendment will be applied retroactively or not; prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president with 87.5% percent of the vote
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 5 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDP 57, RDA-ADF 17, PDP/PS 10, CFD 5, PAI 5, others 17
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:
African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or RDA-ADF [Herman YAMEOGO]; Confederation for Federation and Democracy or CFD [Amadou Diemdioda DICKO]; Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Roch Marc-Christian KABORE]; Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Nayabtigungou Congo KABORE]; Party for African Independence or PAI [Philippe OUEDRAOGO]; Party for Democracy and Progress or PDP [Joseph KI-ZERBO]; Union of Greens for the Development of Burkina Faso or UVDB [Ram OVEDRAGO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Burkinabe General Confederation of Labor or CGTB; Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights or MBDHP; Group of 14 February; National Confederation of Burkinabe Workers or CNTB; National Organization of Free Unions or ONSL; watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tertius ZONGO
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony HOLMES
embassy: 602 Avenue Raoul Follereau, Koulouba, Secteur 4
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - U. S. Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440
telephone: [226] 306723
FAX: [226] 303890
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
Economy Burkina Faso
Economy - overview:
One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources, a fragile soil, and a highly unequal distribution of income. About 90% of the population is engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture, which is vulnerable to variations in rainfall. Cotton is the key crop. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the African franc currency devaluation in January 1994 the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies, and exports and economic growth have increased. Maintenance of macroeconomic progress depends on continued low inflation, reduction in the trade deficit, and reforms designed to encourage private investment. The internal crisis in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire continues to hurt trade and industrial prospects and deepens the need for international assistance.
purchasing power parity - $14.55 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.2% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 39.8%
industry: 19.6%
services: 40.5% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
29% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
45% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 46.8% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
48.2 (1994)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.9% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
5 million
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 90% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $599.8 million
expenditures: $748.8 million NA, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
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:
14% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
279.2 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 69.9%
hydro: 30.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
259.6 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
8,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
$-341 million (2004 est.)
$293 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
cotton, livestock, gold
Exports - partners:
Singapore 12.8%, China 11.6%, Thailand 8%, Italy 6.4%, India 6%, Colombia 5.2%, Ghana 5.2%, France 4.8%, Niger 4% (2003)
$633.6 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
Imports - partners:
France 31.2%, Cote d'Ivoire 14.6%, Togo 9%, Belgium 5% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$379 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.3 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$484.1 million (1995)
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 581.2 (2003), 696.988 (2002), 733.039 (2001), 711.976 (2000), 615.699 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Burkina Faso
Telephones - main lines in use:
65,400 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
227,000 (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: all services only fair
domestic: microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations
international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 17, shortwave 3 (2002)
394,020 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2002)
131,340 (2002)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
442 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
48,000 (2003)
Transportation Burkina Faso
total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note:: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote D'Ivoire (2003)
total: 12,506 km
paved: 2,001 km
unpaved: 10,505 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:
33 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 17 (2003 est.)
Military Burkina Faso
Military branches:
Army, Air Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,047,306 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,552,212 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$52.7 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.6% (2003)
Transnational Issues Burkina Faso
Disputes - international:
two villages are in dispute along the border with Benin; Benin accuses Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars; Burkina Faso border regions have become a staging area for Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire rebels and an asylum for refugees caught in regional fighting; the Ivoirian Government accuses Burkina Faso of supporting Ivoirian rebels

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004