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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Burkina Faso

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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. Current President Blaise COMPAORE came to power in a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.
   Geography    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Western Africa, north of Ghana
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
13 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 274,200 sq km
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Colorado
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Definition Field Listing
mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m
highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 17.66%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 82.12% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
250 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
recurring droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas
   People    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 46.8% (male 3,267,202/female 3,235,190)
15-64 years: 50.7% (male 3,513,559/female 3,538,623)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 140,083/female 208,315) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 16.5 years
male: 16.3 years
female: 16.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
3% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
45.62 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.6 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 91.35 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 99.17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 83.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 48.85 years
male: 47.33 years
female: 50.42 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.47 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
300,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria is a high risk in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%
Definition Field Listing
French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 26.6%
male: 36.9%
female: 16.6% (2003 est.)
   Government    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary republic
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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, Nahouri, Namentenga, Nayala, Noumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro, Zondoma, Zoundweogo
Definition Field Listing
5 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Republic Day, 11 December (1958)
Definition Field Listing
2 June 1991 approved by referendum, 11 June 1991 formally adopted; amended April 2000
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on French civil law system and customary law
Definition Field Listing
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Paramanga Ernest YONLI (since 6 November 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 13 November 2005 (next to be held in 2010); in April 2000, the constitution was amended reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005; prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president; percent of popular vote - Blaise COMPAORE 80.3%, Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 4.9%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (111 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly election last held 5 May 2002 (next to be held May 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDP 57, RDA-ADF 17, PDP/PS 10, CFD 5, PAI 5, other 17
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court; Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF-RDA [Gilbert OUEDRAOGO]; 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/Socialist Party or PDP/PS [Ali LANKOANDE]; Rally of Ecologists of Burkina Faso or RDEB [Ram OUEDRAGO]; Republican Party for Integration and Solidarity or PARIS [Cyril GOUNGOUNGA]; Union for the Republic or UPR [Toussaint Abel COULIBALY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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 the country in both organizations and communities
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Tertius ZONGO
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jeanine E. JACKSON
embassy: 602 Avenue Raoul Follereau, Koulouba, Secteur 4
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - US Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440
telephone: [226] 50-30-67-23
FAX: [226] 50-30-38-90, 50-31-23-68
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
   Economy    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop and the government has joined with three other cotton producing countries in the region - Mali, Niger, and Chad - to lobby for improved access to Western markets. GDP growth has largely been driven by increases in world cotton prices. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the CFA franc currency devaluation in January 1994, the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies; exports and economic growth have increased. The government devolved macroeconomic policy and inflation targeting to the West African regional central bank (BCEAO), but maintains control over fiscal and microeconomic policies, including implementing reforms to encourage private investment. The bitter internal crisis in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire continues to hurt trade and industrial prospects and deepens the need for international assistance. Burkina Faso is eligible for a Millenium Challenge Account grant, which would increase investment in the country's human capital.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$17.87 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$5.821 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,300 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 32.6%
industry: 19.7%
services: 47.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 million
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
45% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 46.8% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
48.2 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $1.158 billion
expenditures: $1.714 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock
Definition Field Listing
cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
400 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
372 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-604.6 million (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$543.5 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, livestock, gold
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 39.8%, Singapore 13.1%, Thailand 5.9%, Ghana 5.4%, Taiwan 4.6%, Niger 4% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.016 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 23.9%, Cote d'Ivoire 23.3%, Togo 6.7% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.328 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.85 billion (2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$468.4 million (2003)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 523.721 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
97,400 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
572,200 (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: all services only fair
domestic: microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations
international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 3, FM 17, shortwave 3 (2002)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2002)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
399 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
64,600 (2005)
   Transportation    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 32
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 18 (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note:: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote D'Ivoire (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 15,272 km
paved: 4,766 km
unpaved: 10,506 km (2004)
   Military    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso), National Gendarmerie (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for compulsory military service; 20 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 2,651,687 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 1,530,324 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.3% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Burkina Faso Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
two villages are in dispute along the border with Benin; Benin accuses Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars; Burkina Faso border regions remain a staging area for Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire rebels and an asylum for refugees caught in local fighting; the Ivoirian Government accuses Burkina Faso of sheltering Ivoirian rebels

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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