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Introduction Burkina Faso
Independence from France came to Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) in 1960. Repeated military coups during 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in early 1990s. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for majority of its citizens. Every year, several hundred thousand seasonal farm workers seek employment in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana and are adversely affected by instability in those regions.
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; limited deposits of gold, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates, zinc, silver
Land use:
arable land: 12.43%
permanent crops: 0.18%
other: 87.39% (1998 est.)
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 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 Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
landlocked savanna cut by three principal rivers of Black, Red, and White Voltas
People Burkina Faso
Total Population:
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account 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 distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.1% (male 3,057,855; female 3,036,705)
15-64 years: 51% (male 3,296,726; female 3,455,817)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 161,914; female 219,443) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 16.8 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 17.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.6% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
44.78 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
18.76 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
Population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 99.78 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 91.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 107.87 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 44.46 years
male: 43.02 years
female: 45.94 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
6.34 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
6.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
440,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
44,000 (2001 est.)
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 population
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
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
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 president on recommendation of 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, constitution previously amended reducing presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005, and allowing president to be reelected only once; it is unclear whether this amendment will be applied retroactively or not; prime minister appointed by president with consent of legislature
note: President COMPAORE faces an increasingly well-coordinated opposition; recent charges against a former member of his Presidential Guard in 1998 assassination of a newspaper editor signify an attempt to defuse chronic areas of dissatisfaction
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president with 87.5% percent of vote
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (111 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
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
elections: National Assembly election last held 5 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007)
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 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 country in both organizations and communities
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tertius ZONGO
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
Diplomatic representation from 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 center; uses popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
Economy Burkina Faso
Economy - overview:
One of poorest countries in world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources, a fragile soil, and a highly unequal distribution of income. About 90% of population is engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture, which is vulnerable to variations in rainfall. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following African franc currency devaluation in January 1994 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 trade deficit, and reforms designed to encourage private investment. internal crisis in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire continues to hurt trade and industrial prospects and deepens need for international assistance.
buying power parity - $14.51 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.6% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $1,100 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 35%
industry: 17%
services: 48% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
45% (2001 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):
3.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
5 million
note: a large part of male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2002)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 90% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $316 million
expenditures: $NA, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001)
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)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock
$250 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
cotton, livestock, gold
Exports - partners:
Singapore 14.7%, Italy 11.3%, Colombia 8.6%, France 7.7%, India 6.9%, Ghana 6%, Japan 4.4%, Thailand 4.3% (2002)
$525 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
Imports - partners:
France 27.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 23%, Togo 4.3% (2002)
Debt - external:
$1.3 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$484.1 million (1995)
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is Central Bank of West African States
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.7 (1999), 589.95 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Burkina Faso
Telephones - main lines in use:
53,200 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
25,200 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: all services only fair
domestic: microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations
international: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
25,000 (2002)
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 (2002)
total: 12,506 km
paved: 2,001 km
unpaved: 10,505 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:
33 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 17 (2002)
Military Burkina Faso
Military branches:
Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police, People's Militia
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,957,710 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,506,944 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$45.83 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.4% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Burkina Faso
Disputes - international:
two villages are in dispute along border with Benin; 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; Ivorian Government accuses Burkina Faso of supporting Ivorian rebels