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Burkina Faso country facts

Africa Ouagadougou 18,365,123 inhabitants 274,200 sq km 66.98 inhabitants/sq km Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) population evolution



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. There have been increasing protests over the belief that the president may try to run for a currently unconstitutional third term in the 2015 presidential elections. 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 (sq km)

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

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries (km)

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

Coastline (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

Elevation extremes (m)

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 (%)

arable land: 20.79%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 78.98% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

250 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

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 over 40%, other approximately 60% (includes Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani)

Languages (%)

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

Religions (%)

Muslim 60.5%, Catholic 19%, animist 15.3%, Protestant 4.2%, other 0.6%, none 0.4% (2006 est.)


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 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 45.4% (male 4,173,236/female 4,156,245)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 1,851,801/female 1,833,496)
25-54 years: 29% (male 2,702,573/female 2,622,603)
55-64 years: 3.1% (male 240,520/female 332,421)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 171,284/female 280,944) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Burkina Faso

Median age (years)

total: 17 years
male: 16.9 years
female: 17.2 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

3.05% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

42.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

11.96 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 26.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 6.02% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

OUAGADOUGOU (capital) 2.053 million (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

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: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

300 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 76.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 84.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 69.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 54.78 years
male: 52.77 years
female: 56.85 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

5.93 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

6.5% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 75.8% of population
total: 81.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 24.2% of population
total: 18.3% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 50.4% of population
rural: 6.7% of population
total: 18.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 49.6% of population
rural: 93.3% of population
total: 81.4% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

1% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

114,500 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

5,500 (2012 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

2.3% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

26.2% (2010)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

3.4% of GDP (2011)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 28.7%
male: 36.7%
female: 21.6% (2007 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 3.8%
male: 4.6%
female: 2.9% (2006)


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

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 2012 (2012)

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


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe TIAO (since 18 April 2011)
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 on 21 November 2010 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president; percent of popular vote - Blaise COMPAORE 80.2%, Hama Arba DIALLO 8.2%, Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 6.3%, other 5.3%

Legislative branch

unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (127 seats; members are elected by proportional representation in one national constituency of 16 seats, and 45 multi-member constituencies having between 2 and 9 seats with members serving five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly election last held on 2 December 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDP 70, ADF-RDA 19, Union for Progress and Reform 19, UPR 4, UNIR-MS 4, CFD-B 3, PDS/Metba 2, other 6

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 judges 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 [Assimi KOUANDA]
Democratic and Popular Rally or RDP [Nana THIBAUT]
Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Nayabtigungou Congo KABORE]
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 [Hama Arba DIALLO]
Party for National Rebirth or PAREN [Barry TAHIROU]
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


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Seydou BOUDA (since 2 September 2011)
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Tulinabo S. MUSHINGI (since 25 July 2013)
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] 50-49-53-00
FAX: [226] 50-49-56-28

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 anthem

name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)
lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA
note: adopted 1974; also known as "Une Seule Nuit" (One Single Night), Burkina Faso's anthem was 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 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. Cotton and gold are key exports. Since 1998, Burkina Faso has begun to privatize state-owned enterprises and in 2004 revised its investment code to attract foreign investment. As a result, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and export. The Burkinabe economy experienced high levels of growth over the last few years but growth is highly dependent on swings in gold and cotton prices. In 2013 Burkina Faso experienced a number of public protests over the cost of living, corruption, and other socioeconomic issues. To defuse tensions the government has offered higher housing bonuses, reduced income taxes, and price controls. Turmoil in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose longer-term challenges.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$26.51 billion (2013 est.)
$24.9 billion (2012 est.)
$22.85 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.13 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

6.5% (2013 est.)
9% (2012 est.)
5% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$1,500 (2013 est.)
$1,400 (2012 est.)
$1,300 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 33.6%
industry: 23.6%
services: 42.8% (2013 est.)

Labor force

6.668 million
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2007)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

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

39.5 (2007)
48.2 (1994)


revenues: $2.838 billion
expenditures: $3.228 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

23.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-3.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2.1% (2013 est.)
3.8% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)


Stock of narrow money

$2.22 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.845 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$4.211 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$3.343 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$2.711 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.123 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


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 (%)

6.5% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$364.9 million (2013 est.)
-$247.6 million (2012 est.)


$2.844 billion (2013 est.)
$2.746 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

gold, cotton, livestock

Exports - partners (%)

China 25.9%, Turkey 24.8%, Belgium 5.2% (2012)


$2.941 billion (2013 est.)
$2.675 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports - partners (%)

Cote dIvoire 17.6%, France 15.2%, Ghana 4.8%, Togo 4.4% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.115 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.025 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$2.863 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.607 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
500.7 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
495.28 (2010 est.)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

670 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

773.1 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

150 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

252,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

87.3% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

12.7% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

9,960 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

11,660 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

1.454 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

141,400 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

9.98 million (2012)

Telephone system

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

Internet country code


Internet hosts

1,795 (2012)

Internet users

178,100 (2009)



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 (km)

total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2008)

Roadways (km)

total: 15,272 km
note: does not include urban roads (2010)


Military branches

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

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

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

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 3,735,735 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 2,366,168
females age 16-49: 2,367,673 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 193,905
female: 191,662 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

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): 32,170 (Mali) (2014)

Largest cities of Burkina Faso

These are the 50 largest cities of Burkina Faso ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Ouagadougou 1,031,330
2 Bobo Dioulasso 370,809
3 Koudougou 86,965
4 Banfora 63,883
5 Ouahigouya 61,439
6 Dédougou 47,235
7 Kaya 39,130
8 Tenkodogo 37,123
9 Ouargaye 30,726
10 Garango 29,076
11 Dori 27,554
12 Kongoussi 26,338
13 Kokologo 25,958
14 Réo 24,616
15 Diapaga 24,302
16 Houndé 23,617
17 Yako 23,080
18 Djibo 22,821
19 Léo 21,151
20 Nouna 21,144
21 21,003
22 Koupéla 19,850
23 Zorgo 19,789
24 Kombissiri 19,180
25 Orodara 18,635
26 Gourcy 17,982
27 Tougan 17,702
28 Boulsa 17,623
29 Manga 15,269
30 Boromo 13,240
31 Diébougou 12,814
32 Ziniaré 12,783
33 Dano 11,224
34 Boussé 11,093
35 Solenzo 10,451
36 Toma 9,926
37 Bogandé 9,916
38 Pitmoaga 8,041
39 Gaoua 7,300
40 Gorom-Gorom 6,743
41 Goulouré 6,719
42 Batié 6,525