Burkina Faso

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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. Former President Blaise COMPAORE (1987-2014) resigned in late October 2014 following popular protests against his efforts to amend the Constitution's two-term presidential limit. By mid-November, a framework for an interim government was adopted under the terms of the National Transition Charter. An interim administration, led by President Michel KAFANDO and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac ZIDA, began organizing presidential and legislative elections planned for October 2015, but these were postponed during a weeklong failed coup in September. The rescheduled elections were held on 29 November, and Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president in the first round. Burkina Faso's high population growth and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.



Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates

13.00° N, 2.00° W

Area 75/257

total: 274,200 sq km

land: 273,800 sq km

water: 400 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries

total: 3,611 km

border countries (6): Benin 386 km, Cote d'Ivoire 545 km, Ghana 602 km, Mali 1,325 km, Niger 622 km, Togo 131 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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 43%

arable land 20.8%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 21.9%

forest: 20.4%

other: 36.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

550 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

12.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.72 cu km/yr (46%/3%/51%)

per capita: 54.99 cu m/yr (2005)

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 and Society


noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)

adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups

Mossi 52.5%, Fulani 8.4%, Gurma 6.8%, Bobo 4.8%, Gurunsi 4.5%, Senufo 4.4%, Bissa 3.9%, Lobi 2.5%, Dagara 2.4%, Tuareg/Bella 1.9%, Dioula 0.8%, unspecified/no answer 0.1%, other 7% (2010 est.)


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


Muslim 61.6%, Catholic 23.2%, traditional/animist 7.3%, Protestant 6.7%, other/no answer 0.2%, none 0.9% (2010 est.)

Population 60/238


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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 45.2% (male 4,286,569/female 4,270,357)

15-24 years: 20.08% (male 1,909,090/female 1,892,273)

25-54 years: 29.13% (male 2,799,042/female 2,716,439)

55-64 years: 3.14% (male 253,423/female 340,599)

65 years and over: 2.45% (male 174,647/female 289,247) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 92.2%

youth dependency ratio: 87.6%

elderly dependency ratio: 4.6%

potential support ratio: 21.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 17.1 years

male: 17 years

female: 17.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 7/233

3.03% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 5/224

42.03 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 28/225

11.72 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 104/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 29.9% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 5.87% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

OUAGADOUGOU (capital) 2.741 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.74 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 39/184

371 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 9/224

total: 75.32 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 82.56 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 67.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 210/224

total population: 55.12 years

male: 53.1 years

female: 57.21 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 6/224

5.86 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

16.2% (2010/11)

Health expenditures 107/191

6.4% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source


urban: 97.5% of population

rural: 75.8% of population

total: 82.3% of population


urban: 2.5% of population

rural: 24.2% of population

total: 17.7% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 50.4% of population

rural: 6.7% of population

total: 19.7% of population


urban: 49.6% of population

rural: 93.3% of population

total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.94% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

107,700 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,800 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 181/191

5.2% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 24/138

26.2% (2010)

Education expenditures 128/173

3.4% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 8 years

male: 8 years

female: 7 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 129/134

total: 3.8%

male: 4.6%

female: 2.9% (2006 est.)


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

etymology: name translates as "Land of the honest (incorruptible) men"

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

13 regions; Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Centre, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Centre-Ouest, Centre-Sud, Est, Hauts-Bassins, Nord, Plateau-Central, Sahel, Sud-Ouest


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


several previous; latest approved by referendum 2 June 1991, adopted 11 June 1991; amended several times, last in 2015 for setting a two-term limit for presidents; note - constitution suspended between early June and mid-November 2014 (2015)

Legal system

civil law based on the French model and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Burkina Faso

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Roch Marc KABORE (since 29 December 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Paul Kaba THIEBA (since 6 January 2016)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president elected by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds, if needed, for a 5-year term (eligible for a second); election last held on 29 November 2015 (next scheduled for November 2020); prime minister appointed by the president with consent of the National Assembly

election results: Roch Marc KABORE elected president in one round; percent of vote - Roch Marc KABORE 53.5%, Zephirin DIABRE 29.6%, Tahirou BARRY 3.1%. Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 2.8%, other 10.9%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (127 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 29 November 2015 (date of next election NA)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MPP 55, UPC 33, CDP 18, Union for Rebirth/Sankarist Party 5, ADF-RDA 3, other 13

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (consists of the council president and 3 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judge appointments mostly controlled by the president of Burkina Faso; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council judges appointed by the president of Burkina Faso upon the proposal of the minister of justice and the president of the National Assembly; judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years

subordinate courts: Appeals Court; High Court; first instance tribunals; district courts; specialized courts relating to issues of labor, children, and juveniles; village (customary) courts

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 [Zio Eric FRANCOIS]

Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Eddie KOMBOIGO]

Democratic and Popular Rally or RDP [Nana THIBAUT]

Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Nayabtigungou Congo KABORE]

New Alliance of the Faso or NAFA [Rasmane OUEDRAOGO]

Party for African Independence or PAI [Soumane TOURE]

Party for Democracy and Progress-Socialist Party or PDP-PS [Francois O. KABORE]

Party for Democracy and Socialism/Metba or PDS/Metba [Philippe OVEDRAOGO]

Party for National Renaissance or PAREN [TAHIROUT BARRY]

People's Movement for Progress or MPP [Roch March KABORE]

Rally for the Development of Burkina or RDB [Celestin Saidou COMPAORE]

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 Progress and Change or UPC [Zephirin DIABRE]

Union for Rebirth - Sankarist Movement or UNIR-MS [Benewende Stanislas SANKARA]

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]

Citizen's Resistance Front [Luc Marius IBRIGA]

Group of 14 February [Benewende Stanislas SANKARA]

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


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 symbol(s)

white stallion; national colors: red, yellow, green

National anthem

name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)

lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA

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


Economy - overview

Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. 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 on global prices for the two commodities. The Burkinabe economy experienced high levels of growth over the last few years and the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports.

Burkina Faso experienced a number of public protests over the high cost of living, corruption, and other socioeconomic issues in 2013, while the fall of the COMPAORE government in 2014 and failed coup in September 2015 disrupted economic activity and strained government finances. A new three-year IMF program was approved in 2013 to focus on improving the quality of public investment and ensuring inclusive growth. Political insecurity in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose long-term challenges.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 128/230

$31.18 billion (2015 est.)

$29.71 billion (2014 est.)

$28.56 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$11.32 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 39/225

5% (2015 est.)

4% (2014 est.)

6.6% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 207/230

$1,800 (2015 est.)

$1,700 (2014 est.)

$1,600 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 163/179

5.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

4.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

13.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50.5%

government consumption: 20.1%

investment in fixed capital: 29.9%

investment in inventories: 0.6%

exports of goods and services: 28.5%

imports of goods and services: -29.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 22.9%

industry: 25.7%

services: 51.5% (2015 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 85/202

3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 63/233

7.692 million

note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 90%

industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate 205/207

77% (2004)

Population below poverty line

46.7% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 32.2% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 65/144

39.5 (2007)

48.2 (1994)


revenues: $2.182 billion

expenditures: $2.475 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 165/219

19.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 94/220

-2.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 27/226

-0.2% (2015 est.)

-0.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 86/156

4.25% (31 December 2010)

4.25% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

NA% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 133/192

$1.768 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.969 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 139/193

$4.211 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$3.343 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 128/191

$3.293 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.302 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 117/197

-$895 million (2015 est.)

-$768 million (2014 est.)

Exports 135/224

$2.194 billion (2015 est.)

$2.388 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

gold, cotton, livestock

Exports - partners

China 13.5%, India 8.7%, Indonesia 7.1%, Bangladesh 6.4%, France 5.7%, Canada 5.2%, Japan 4.4% (2014)

Imports 154/223

$2.518 billion (2015 est.)

$2.631 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports - partners

Cote d'Ivoire 19.6%, France 14.1%, Togo 7.7%, China 4.8%, India 4.7%, Ghana 4.7% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 156/170

$362.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$297.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 144/206

$2.852 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$2.564 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

580.5 (2015 est.)

494.42 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

510.53 (2012 est.)

471.87 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 161/220

522 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 151/219

985.5 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 210/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 73/219

500 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 157/214

238,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 84/214

86.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 199/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 106/214

13.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 137/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 203/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 203/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 141/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 204/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 142/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 150/212

12,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 143/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 134/213

11,610 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 141/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 205/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 202/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 148/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 202/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 160/212

1.406 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 141/219

total subscriptions: 120,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 74/217

total: 12.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 68 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: system includes microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations; in 2006, the government sold a 51% stake in the national telephone company and ultimately plans to retain only a 23% 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) (2011)

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 stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters available in Ouagadougou (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 26, shortwave 3 (2007)

Television broadcast stations

3 (1 national, 2 private)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 164/232

1,795 (2012)

Internet users 125/217

total: 782,400

percent of population: 4.3% (2014 est.)


Airports 133/236

23 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 21

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 13

under 914 m: 5 (2013)

Railways 107/136

total: 622 km

narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge

note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2014)

Roadways 121/223

total: 15,272 km

note: does not include urban roads (2010)

Military and Security

Military branches

Army, Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso, FABF), National Gendarmerie (2011)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may serve in supporting roles (2013)

Military expenditures 73/132

1.39% of GDP (2012)

1.34% of GDP (2011)

1.39% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

adding to illicit cross-border activities, Burkina Faso has issues concerning unresolved boundary alignments with its neighbors; demarcation is currently underway with Mali; the dispute with Niger was referred to the ICJ in 2010, and a dispute over several villages with Benin persists; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso around the town of Koualou

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 34,191 (Mali) (2016)