Burkina Faso [Country Flag of Burkina Faso]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Burkina Faso]

Burkina Faso


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Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references: Africa

total: 274,200 sq km
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries:
total: 3,192 km
border countries: Benin 306 km, Ghana 548 km, Cote d'Ivoire 584 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast

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, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates, zinc, silver

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 22%
forests and woodland: 50%
other: 15% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 200 sq km (1993 est.)

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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography—note: landlocked


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Population: 11,266,393 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (male 2,721,564; female 2,687,770)
15-64 years: 49% (male 2,616,375; female 2,899,923)
65 years and over: 3% (male 146,195; female 194,566) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.72% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 46.24 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 17.65 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 109.15 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 46.1 years
male: 45.38 years
female: 46.85 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.64 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups: Mossi about 24%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani

Religions: indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%

Languages: French (official), tribal languages belonging to Sudanic family, spoken by 90% of the population

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 19.2%
male: 29.5%
female: 9.2% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta

Data code: UV

Government type: parliamentary

National capital: Ouagadougou

Administrative divisions: 30 provinces; Bam, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemde, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houe, Kadiogo, Kenedougou, Komoe, Kossi, Kouritenga, Mouhoun, Namentenga, Naouri, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Yatenga, Zoundweogo
note: there may be a new administrative structure of 45 provinces (Bale, Bam, Banwa, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemde, Comoe, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houet, Ioba, Kadiogo, Kenedougou, Komandjari, Kompienga, Kossi, Koupelogo, Kouritenga, Kourweogo, Leraba, Loroum, Mouhoun, Nahouri, Namentenga, Nayala, Naumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Samentenga, Sanguie, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro, Zondomo, Zoundweogo)

Independence: 5 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 4 August (1983)

Constitution: 2 June 1991

Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law

Suffrage: universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Captain Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Kadre Desire OUEDRAOGO (since 6 February 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; the number of terms which a president may serve is not limited; election last held 1 December 1991 (next to be held NA 1998); prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
election results: Blaise COMPAORE elected president with 90.4% percent of the votes of those who voted (the abstention rate was 74.7%)

Legislative branch: bicameral; consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee des Deputes Populaires (ADP) (111 seats; members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms) and the purely consultative Chamber of Representations or Chambre des Representants (120 seats; members are appointed to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 11 May 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—CDP 101, PDP 6, RDA 2, ADF 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Appeals Court

Political parties and leaders: African Democratic Assembly or RDA [Gerard Kango OUEDRAOGO]; Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF [Herman YAMEOGO]; Burkinabe Bolshevic Party or PBB; Burkinabe Socialist Party or PSB; Burkinabe Socialist Bloc or BSB [Earnest Nongma OUEDRAOGO, president]; Burkinabe Environmentalist Party or UVDB; Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Din Salif SAWADAGO] (the strongest party in the 1997 legislative elections); Front for Social Forces or FFS [Fide'le KIENTEGA]; Group of Democratic Patriots or GDP; Movement for Social Tolerance and Progress or MTP; New Social Democrats or NSD; Open Revolutionary Party or POR; Organization for People's Democracy—Labor Movement or ODP-MT (ruling party at time of 1992 elections but was incorporated, with about a dozen smaller parties, into the powerful CDP in February 1996); Party for Democracy and Progress or PDP [Joseph KI-ZERBO]; Party for Progress and Social Development or PPDS; Party for African Independence or PAI

Political pressure groups and leaders: watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities; Burkinabe General Confederation of Labor or CGTB; National Confederation of Burkinabe Workers or CNTB; National Organization of Free Unions or ONSL

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB, WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Bruno Nongoma ZIDOUEMBA
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577, 6895

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sharon P. WILKINSON (16 July 1996)
embassy: Avenue Raoul Follerau, Ouagadougou
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou
telephone: [226] 306723 through 306726
FAX: [226] 303890

Flag description: 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


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Economy—overview: One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has a high population density, few natural resources, and a fragile soil. Over 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture which is highly vulnerable to variations in rainfall. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the African franc currency devaluation in January 1994 the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies, and exports and economic growth have increased.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$10.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$950 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 32%
industry: 26%
services: 42% (1995)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3% (1996 est.)

Labor force: NA (most adults are employed in subsistence agriculture)
by occupation: agriculture 80%, industry 15%, commerce, services, and government 5%
note: 20% of male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (1984)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $277 million
expenditures: $492 million, including capital expenditures of $233 million (1995 est.)

Industries: cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold

Industrial production growth rate: 4.2% (1995)

Electricity—capacity: 78,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 220 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 21 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, cotton, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock

total value: $298 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
commodities: cotton, animal products, gold
partners: Cote d'Ivoire, France, Italy, Mali

total value: $500 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
commodities: machinery, food products, petroleum
partners: Cote d'Ivoire, France, Togo, Nigeria

Debt—external: $715 million (December 1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1—608.36 (January 1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993)
note: beginning 12 January 1994 the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 21,000 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: all services only fair
domestic: microwave radio relay, open wire, and radiotelephone communication stations
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 32, shortwave 1

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 3 (1997)

Televisions: 49,000 (1991 est.)


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total: 622 km (517 km from Ouagadougou to the Cote d'Ivoire border and 105 km from Ouagadougou to Kaya)
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge (1995 est.)

total: 12,506 km
paved: 2,001 km
unpaved: 10,505 km (1995 est.)

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 33 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 14 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police, People's Militia

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,317,227 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,187,840 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $104 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 6.4% (1994)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none