Burkina Faso Overview
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The R¨¦publique D¨¦mocratique du Burkina Faso (until
1983 Obervolta) is a landlocked country in West Africa
and borders on Mali in the west and north , Niger in the
northeast, Benin in the southeast ,Togo in the south ,
Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The national area is 274 200
km². The north of Burkina Faso is part of the Sahel
region, which is repeatedly hit by drought disasters, on
the outskirts of the Sahara. The landscape is mainly
determined by a plateau up to 300 m high, which has
isolated island mountains and low mountain ranges and
which slopes slightly towards the south. The plateau is
drained by a number of rivers that dry up during the dry
season. In the south these are the Black, Red and White
Volta, in the east small rivers connect the plateau with
the Niger River in the state of the same name. This
northeastern region separates the Volta and Niger
basins. The highest point is the T¨¦na Kouvou with 747 m.
It is part of the Sikasso sandstone plateau, which lies
in the southwest of the country and breaks off steeply
to the south. The Tafelland is the country ' s main
riverflowed through the black volta. It is the only
water course that carries water all year round. The
largest city is the capital Ouagadougou , which is
located in the center of the country and has around 1.2
The south and the central part of Burkina Faso lie in
the area of a changeable tropical climate. This
divides the year into two sections: from June to October
there is irregular rain and it is hot, the rest of the
year the Harmattan, a hot dusty trade wind from the
northeast, ensures a dry climate. The north is
determined exclusively by dry climates, here the
rainfall is less than 250 mm per year. The annual
rainfall in the capital in the center of the country is
890 mm. The average temperature in Ouagadougou is around
25 ¡ã C in January and around 28 ¡ã C in July.
Flora and fauna
On the plateaus in the south you can find wet
savannah with grass and small groups of trees (eg
acacias, baobabs, tamarinds). The population's need for
firewood has led to large-scale deforestation. With
decreasing precipitation towards the north, the wet
savannah changes to dry savannah in the center and
finally to thorny shrub savannah in the Sahel region.
Only dry grass, thorny plants and succulents grow here.
Elephants, hippos, buffalos, antelopes, crocodiles,
leopards, hyenas and lions all live in the southeast and
east of the state on the border with Benin (eg in Arly
According to COUNTRYAAH, Burkina Faso has about 13.93 million residents. There
are over 160 tribal groups and 60 ethnic groups in the
country. The largest (40% of the population) and at the
same time politically most influential tribe are the
Mossi, who come from the ethnic group of the Volta. The
majority live in the area around the capital Ouagadougou
and provided the founding president of Burkina Faso,
Maurice Yameogo. In addition to the Mossi, the nomadic
Fulbe and Tuareg in the north, in the west the Mande,
the Lobi and the Bobo as well as the Fulani are other
groups. In addition to the largest city of Ouagadougou,
Bobo-Dioulasso and Koudougou are important centers.
The distribution of religions is as follows: Around
40% are followers of traditional natural religions, 50%
Muslims and 10% Christians. French is the official
language, about half of the residents also speak
Sudanese dialects, the rest of Mande.
Literacy is only around 26.6% and life expectancy is
44 years. Population growth is a high 3.0% despite an
HIV infection rate of 2.0% of the total population.
Almost half of the residents are under 15 years of age.
According to the 1991 constitution, Burkina Faso is a
presidential republic headed by a head of state (Blaise
Compaor¨¦, since 1987) who has been elected directly for
five years. The latter appoints the cabinet under the
chairmanship of the prime minister (Luc-Adolphe Tiao,
since April 2011).
The legislature (National Assembly) is made up of 127
parliamentary representatives elected for five years.
The legal system is based on that of France.
Burkina Faso is divided into 13 regions, which are
divided into 45 provinces.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the
world, almost half of the population lives below the
poverty line. In recent years there has been a slight
improvement in economic conditions due to a decrease in
debt (debt relief) and as a result of foreign grants. A
major source of income is money transfers from
plantation workers who work in neighboring Ghana and
Ivory Coast, with the size of the transfers decreasing
since the late 1990s.
The main economic base is the agricultural sector,
which employs over nine tenths of the population. The
cultivation of cotton, sesame, peanuts and tobacco is
particularly important for export. A large part of the
population grows millet, maize, rice, sweet potatoes and
legumes for their own use in family farms. Important
farm animals are cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and poultry.
The lack of water is an ongoing problem for the dry and
devastating country in the Sahel.
To a small extent, industrial companies are involved
in the further processing of agricultural products. In
addition, consumer goods such as soap, shoes,
motorcycles and scooters, cigarettes and textiles are
manufactured in the country. Exports are mainly to Togo,
Ghana and Ivory Coast, imports are mainly from France
and the Ivory Coast. Imports exceed exports.
The only train connection that leads across the
country from Ivory Coast to Niger played a central role
in the transportation of goods; today, however, the
route is no longer completely passable. Most of the road
network is unpaved. There are two international
The currency is the CFA franc.