Coat of Arms
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré
»Burkinabé Burkinabè Burkinabe
»274,200 km2 (74th)
» Per capita -$1,666
» Per capita -$790
»West African CFA france (XOF)
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) in size. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. It’s capital is Ouagadougou. As of 2014, its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million.
Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Residents of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè. French is an official language of government and business.
Before the conquest of what is now Burkina Faso by the French and other colonial powers during the late 19th century, the country was ruled by various ethnic groups including the Mossi kingdoms. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes. Today it is a semi-presidential republic. Blaise Compaoréwas the most recent president and ruled the country from 1987 until he was ousted from power by the popular youth upheaval of 31 October 2014.
The value of Burkina Faso’s exports fell from $2.77 billion in 2011 to $754 million in 2012. 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.
Burkina Faso was ranked the 111th safest investment destination in the world in the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings. Remittances used to be an important source of income to Burkina Faso until the 1990s, when unrest in Côte d’Ivoire, the main destination for Burkinabe emigrants, forced many to return home. Remittances now account for less than 1% of GDP.
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. Micro-finance institutions are governed by a separate law, which regulates micro-finance activities in all WAEMU countries. The insurance sector is regulated through the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA).
Processing facilities at the Essakane Mine in Burkina Faso.
There is mining of copper, iron, manganese, gold, cassiterite (tin ore), and phosphates. 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.
|3||Other Oily Seeds||$22,014,653.06||2.9%|
|5||Other Pure Vegetable Oils||$13,281,025.43||1.8%|
|6||Coconuts, Brazil Nuts, and Cashews||$11,555,210.24||1.5%|
|14||Sheep and Goats||$2,431,175.59||0.32%|
|15||Raw Iron Bars||$2,082,202.22||0.28%|
|16||Tanned Goat Hides||$1,844,873.00||0.24%|
|17||Bi-Wheel Vehicle Parts||$1,523,374.00||0.20%|
|5||Mixed Mineral or Chemical Fertilizers||$87,640,403.00||3.8%|
|10||Large Construction Vehicles||$40,017,583.00||1.8%|
|12||Electric Generating Sets||$37,327,825.00||1.6%|
|13||Stone Processing Machines||$35,469,066.00||1.6%|
|16||Soups and Broths||$30,036,746.00||1.3%|
Burkina may not have many big-ticket attractions yet it invariably wins the hearts of traveller’s for the warmth of its welcome. The Burkinabé are disarmingly charming and easygoing, and wherever you go you’ll be greeted with a memorable one arrivée (welcome).
The country’s other big draws are its enchanting landscapes – from atmospheric Sahelian plains, to rolling savannah and surprising geology – and the lively cultural scene. Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina’s two largest and gloriously named cities, are famous for their musical traditions and beautiful handicrafts. Throw in Fespaco, Africa’s premier film festival held in the capital every odd-numbered year, and there’s enough to engage your mind and senses for a couple of weeks or so.
Laongo is home to a variety of sculptures by local and international artists The park’s scattered pieces of granite have been transformed into beautiful works of art
The Sindou Peaks in Banfora consists of a narrow chain of soft rock that over the years has been eroded into unusual rock formations
Burkina Faso is the home of music in West Africa.
Festival International de la Culture Hip Hop (International Festival of Hip Hop Culture)—Ouagadougou & Bobo-Dioulasso; October; Two weeks of Hip Hop performances
Festival Jazz (Jazz Festival)—Ouaga & Bobo; April/May; Features big names from around the continent
Festival des Masques et des Artes (FESTIMA; Arts & Masks Festival)—Dedougou; March of even-numbered years; Hundreds of troupes of mask dancers from across West Africa perform.
Festival Panafricain du Cinema (FESPACO; Panafrican Film Festival)—Ouaga; Feb/Mar of odd-numbered years; Africa’s largest film festival held every other year brings stars and filmmakers from across the continent.
Semaine National de la Culture (National Culture Week)—Bobo; March/April; music, dance, theatre, & masquerades fill the air this week in Bobo