Information about the Burkina Faso Country

Facts


Population: 18,65 million (2016)
Area: 274 200 km²
Capital City: Ouagadougou


About Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and 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. Its capital is Ouagadougou. In 2017, its population was estimated at just over 20 million. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as the official language of government and business. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé.
In 1987, Blaise Compaoré became President and, after an alleged 1989 coup attempt, was later elected in 1991 and 1998, elections which were boycotted by the opposition and received a considerably low turnout, as well as in 2005. He remained head of state until he was ousted from power by the popular youth upheaval of 31 October 2014, after which he fled to the Ivory Coast. Michel Kafando subsequently became the transitional President of the country. On 16 September 2015, a military coup d’état against the Kafando government was carried out by the Regiment of Presidential Security, the former presidential guard of Compaoré. On 24 September 2015, after pressure from the African Union, ECOWAS and the armed forces, the military junta agreed to step down, and Michel Kafando was reinstated as Acting President. In the general election held on 29 November 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won in the first round with 53.5% of the vote and was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015.


Currency


The CFA Franc is the currency of Communauté Financière Africaine (BCEAO). The currency code for Francs is XOF.


Climate


Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 60 and 90 cm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan – a hot dry wind from the Sahara – blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June through September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel in the north typically receives less than 60 cm (23.6 in) of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5–47 °C (41–117 °F).
A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. Situated between 11°3′ and 13°5′ north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 90 cm (35.4 in) of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.


Language

Burkina Faso is a multilingual country. An estimated 69 languages are spoken there,[82] of which about 60 languages are indigenous. The Mossi language (Mossi: Mòoré) is spoken by about 40% of the population, mainly in the central region around the capital, Ouagadougou, along with other, closely related Gurunsi languages scattered throughout Burkina.
In the west, Mande languages are widely spoken, the most predominant being Dyula (also known as Jula or Dioula), others including Bobo, Samo, and Marka. The Fula language (Fula: Fulfulde, French: Peuhl) is widespread, particularly in the north. The Gourmanché language is spoken in the east, while the Bissa language is spoken in the south.
The official language is French, which was introduced during the colonial period. French is the principal language of administrative, political and judicial institutions, public services, and the press. It is the only language for laws, administration and courts.


Economy

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 Ivory Coast, 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. Microfinance institutions are governed by a separate law, which regulates microfinance activities in all WAEMU countries. The insurance sector is regulated through the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA).


Education

Education in Burkina Faso is divided into primary, secondary and higher education. High school costs approximately CFA 25,000 ($50 USD) per year, which is far above the means of most Burkinabè families. Boys receive preference in schooling; as such, girls’ education and literacy rates are far lower than their male counterparts. An increase in girls’ schooling has been observed because of the government’s policy of making school cheaper for girls and granting them more scholarships.
To proceed from elementary to middle school, middle to high school or high school to college, national exams must be passed. Institutions of higher education include the University of Ouagadougou, The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso, and the University of Koudougou, which is also a teacher training institution. There are some small private colleges in the capital city of Ouagadougou but these are affordable to only a small portion of the population.
There is also the International School of Ouagadougou (ISO), an American-based private school located in Ouagadougou.
The 2008 UN Development Program Report ranked Burkina Faso as the country with the lowest level of literacy in the world, despite a concerted effort to double its literacy rate from 12.8% in 1990 to 25.3% in 2008.


Government and politics

With French help, Blaise Compaoré seized power in a coup d’état in 1987. He overthrew his long-time friend and ally Thomas Sankara, who was killed in the coup.
The constitution of 2 June 1991 established a semi-presidential government: its parliament could be dissolved by the President of the Republic, who was to be elected for a term of seven years. In 2000, the constitution was amended to reduce the presidential term to five years and set term limits to two, preventing successive re-election. The amendment took effect during the 2005 elections. If passed beforehand, it would have prevented Compaoré from being reelected.
Other presidential candidates challenged the election results. But in October 2005, the constitutional council ruled that, because Compaoré was the sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply to him until the end of his second term in office. This cleared the way for his candidacy in the 2005 election. On 13 November 2005, Compaoré was reelected in a landslide, because of a divided political opposition.
In the 2010 Presidential elections, President Compaoré was re-elected. Only 1.6 million Burkinabés voted, out of a total population 10 times that size.
The 2011 Burkinabè protests were a series of popular protests that called for the resignation of Compaoré, democratic reforms, higher wages for troops and public servants and economic freedom. As a result, Governors were replaced and wages for public servants were raised.
The parliament consisted of one chamber known as the National Assembly which had 111 seats with members elected to serve five-year terms. There was also a constitutional chamber, composed of ten members, and an economic and social council whose roles were purely consultative. The 1991 constitution created a bicameral parliament but the upper house (Chamber of Representatives) was abolished in 2002.
The Compaoré administration had worked to decentralize power by devolving some of its powers to regions and municipal authorities. But the widespread distrust of politicians and lack of political involvement by many residents complicated this process. Critics described this as a hybrid decentralisation.
Political freedoms are severely restricted in Burkina Faso. Human rights organizations had criticised the Compaoré administration for numerous acts of state-sponsored violence against journalists and other politically active members of society.
In mid-September 2015 the Kafando government, along with the rest of the post-October 2014 political order, was temporarily overthrown in a coup attempt by the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP). They installed Gilbert Diendéré as chairman of the new National Council for Democracy. On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power. The national elections were subsequently rescheduled for 29 November.
Kaboré won the election in the first round of voting, receiving 53.5% of the vote against 29.7% for the second place candidate, Zephirin Diabré. He was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015.


Culture


Literature in Burkina Faso is based on the oral tradition, which remains important. In 1934, during French occupation, Dim-Dolobsom Ouedraogo published his Maximes, pensées et devinettes mossi (Maximes, Thoughts and Riddles of the Mossi), a record of the oral history of the Mossi people.
The oral tradition continued to have an influence on Burkinabè writers in the post-independence Burkina Faso of the 1960s, such as Nazi Boni and Roger Nikiema. The 1960s saw a growth in the number of playwrights being published. Since the 1970s, literature has developed in Burkina Faso with many more writers being published.
The theatre of Burkina Faso combines traditional Burkinabè performance with the colonial influences and post-colonial efforts to educate rural people to produce a distinctive national theatre. Traditional ritual ceremonies of the many ethnic groups in Burkina Faso have long involved dancing with masks. Western-style theatre became common during colonial times, heavily influenced by French theatre. With independence came a new style of theatre inspired by forum theatre aimed at educating and entertaining Burkina Faso’s rural people.


Health

Yellow fever vaccination required. Malaria is a serious problem, so be sure to begin take prophylaxis prior to leaving for Burkina and continue taking it while there and often for some time after returning home. Cholera vaccination may be required in event of outbreak. Meningitis is also a problem, and vaccination is highly suggested. Typhoid fever is common, as are other water and food-borne diseases such as E coli. Typhoid vaccination is recommended but it is not 100% effective so it is still important to take precautions.
The water is NOT safe to drink, especially outside the big cities where untreated well water is often the norm. Buy bottled water, and bring a water filter for emergency use if you’re planning on spending time in any villages. In Burkina you will often find little plastic soft “bags” of mineral water rather than plastic bottles.
In 2012, the average life expectancy was estimated at 57 for male and 59 for female. The under five mortality rate and the infant mortality rate were respectively 102 and 66 per 1000 live births. In 2014, the median age of its inhabitants is 17 and the estimated population growth rate is 3.05%.
In 2011, health expenditures was 6.5% of GDP; the maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 300 deaths per 100000 live births and the physician density at 0.05 per 1000 population in 2010. In 2012, it was estimated that the adult HIV prevalence rate (ages 15–49) was 1.0%. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, HIV prevalence is declining among pregnant women who attend antenatal clinics. According to a 2005 World Health Organization report, an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso’s girls and women have had female genital mutilation, administered according to traditional rituals.


Safety


Burkina Faso is one of safest countries in West Africa. However, be aware of thieves in the big city. Violent assault is rare. Pickpockets and purse snatchers are something to watch out for in big cities, especially in Ouagadougou, where it is recommended not to carry a bag with you when at all possible. The common, cheap green taxis in the big city can sometimes host thieves. Hold on to your purse, and keep your money safely tucked away. If you want to carry around a camera or other item that requires a bag, it is often safer to put it in one of the ubiquitous black “sachets” (plastic bags) that you get when you purchase something in a store, so that potential thieves will assume there’s nothing of great value inside. Even in the capital’s streets there are very few beggars, if any, compared to other African countries, and when you do encounter them, they are remarkably un-insisting and will walk away after a simple “No”.
You should always take precautions when travelling, but Burkina is a remarkably safe and respectful country. Women travellers rarely experience any problems. Foreigners, especially white foreigners, frequently attract significant attention, but the interest is mainly an attempt to sell you tourist items or overpriced goods. Indeed, the Burkinabé will show more patience and friendliness to the foreigner than to another Burkinabé, be it in a small village or in a big city.
There was a violent altercation between military and police in Dec 2006. Members from involved parties made it a point to advise foreigners on the street that they should find shelter and stay out of harm’s way. The problem was resolved quickly and no foreigners came to any harm.


Transport

Transport in Burkina Faso is hampered by a largely underdeveloped infrastructure.
The main airport is at Ouagadougou and as of June 2014 it had regularly scheduled flights to many destinations in West Africa as well as Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. There is another international airport at Bobo Dioulasso which has flights to Ouagadougou and Abidjan.
Rail transport in Burkina Faso consists of a single line which runs from Kaya to Abidjan in Ivory Coast via Ouagadougou, Koudougou, Bobo Dioulasso and Banfora. Sitarail operates a passenger train three times a week along the route.
There are 12,506 kilometres of highway in Burkina Faso, of which 2,001 kilometres are paved.


Cuisine


Typical of West African cuisine, Burkina Faso’s cuisine is based on staple foods of sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. The most common sources of animal protein are chicken, chicken eggs and fresh water fish. A typical Burkinabè beverage is Banji or Palm Wine, which is fermented palm sap; and Zoom-kom, or “grain water” purportedly the national drink of Burkina Faso. Zoom-kom is milky-looking and whitish, having a water and cereal base, best drunk with ice cubes. In the more rural regions, in the outskirts of Burkina, you would find Dolo, which is drink made from fermented millet.

Comments are closed.