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Burkina Faso

Coat of arms of Burkina Faso
Coat of arms
Motto: "Unité–Progrès–Justice" (French)
Anthem: Une Seule Nuit / Ditanyè  (French)
One Single Night / Hymn of Victory

Burkina Faso (orthographic projection).svg
Location Burkina Faso AU Africa.svg
and largest city
12°22′N 1°32′W / 12.367°N 1.533°W / 12.367; -1.533
Official languages French
Recognised national languages Mòoré
Ethnic groups
(2010 est.)
  • 52% Mossi
  • 8.4% Fula
  • 2.4% Lobi
  • 4.9% Bobo
  • 0.8% Dioula
  • 4.5% Senufo
  • 4.6% Gurunsi
  • 7% Gurma
  • 1.9% Tuareg
  • Burkinabé
  • Burkinabè
  • Burkinese
Government Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré
Christophe Joseph Marie Dabiré
Legislature National Assembly
• Republic of Upper Volta proclaimed
11 December 1958
• from France
5 August 1960
• Total
274,200 km2 (105,900 sq mi) (74th)
• Water (%)
• 2020 estimate
21,510,181 (58th)
• 2006 census
• Density
64/km2 (165.8/sq mi) (137th)
GDP (PPP) 2020 estimate
• Total
$45.339 billion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2020 estimate
• Total
$16.226 billion
• Per capita
Gini (2020) Steady 38.9
HDI (2019) Increase 0.452
low · 182nd
Currency West African CFA franc (XOF)
Time zone UTC (GMT)
Driving side right
Calling code +226
ISO 3166 code BF
Internet TLD .bf
The data here is an estimation for the year 2005 produced by the International Monetary Fund in April 2005.

Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa. It used to be called Upper Volta and the name was changed to Burkina Faso in 1984. The country was once ruled by France, but it has been independent since 1960. The capital is Ouagadougou.

In 2005, about 13,228,000 people lived in the country. It is next to Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. It does not have any coast with an ocean or sea. People from Burkina Faso are called Burkinabé (pronounced burr-KEE-na-bay).


People have lived in the area of Burkina Faso for thousands of years. At first, they were hunter-gatherers, hunting animals and collecting fruits and vegetables. Later they became farmers. People called the Mossi arrived between the 11th and 13th centuries. They ruled the area until the end of the 19th century. In 1896 France beat the Mossi kingdom and became the colonial rulers of Burkina Faso. After World War I, the country was called Upper Volta.

In 1960, Upper Volta became independent from France. The first president of the new country was Maurice Yaméogo. After he became the president, Yaméogo banned other political parties. For several years the people of Upper Volta were very unhappy with the government and in 1966 the military took over in a military coup. In 1983 the government was taken over again by military men called Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaoré. Sankara became president. In 1984, he changed the name of the country to Burkina Faso. It means "land of honest people".

In December 1985, Burkina Faso went to war for five days with near-by country Mali. In 1987, there was another military coup and Sankara was assassinated (murdered). Blaise Compaoré became the president.

On 28 October 2014 protesters began to march and demonstrate in Ouagadougou. Compaoré was ready to change the constitution and extendhis 27-year rule. On 30 October 2014, some protesters set fire to the parliament. They also took over the national television headquarters. On 31 October 2014, President Compaoré, resigned after 27 years in office.

In 2015 the country held their first election. Roch Marc Christian Kabore, a former Prime Minister, was elected as President.

Regions, provinces, and departments

Burkina Faso is divided into thirteen regions, forty-five provinces, and 301 departments. The regions are:


Below is a list of the largest cities in Burkina Faso. For other cities see List of cities in Burkina Faso.

City Population (Census 2006)
Ouagadougou 1,181,702
Bobo Dioulasso 435,543
Koudougou 82,720
Banfora 72,144
Ouahigouya 70,957
Kaya 25,880
Tenkodogo 40,839
Fada N'gourma 40,815
Dédougou 37,793
Houndé 34,669

Geography and climate

Waterfalls at Karfiguela, Burkina Faso
Waterfalls at Karfiguela, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain. It has a gently undulating landscape with a few isolated hills. The southwest of the country forms a sandstone massif. The highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The area is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 meters (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 meters (1,312 ft). The difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 meters (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is a mostly flat country.

Burkina Faso has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 600 and 900 millimeters (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 about four months, from May/June to September. It is shorter in the north of the country.

Burkina Faso's natural resources include manganese, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, salt and small deposits of gold.

Burkina Faso's fauna and flora are protected in two national parks and several reserves.


Literature in Burkina Faso is based on the oral tradition, which remains important. Since the 1970s, literature has developed in Burkina Faso with many more writers being published.

There is also a large artist community, especially in Ouagadougou. Much of the crafts produced are for the growing tourist industry.

The food of Burkina Faso, typical of west African cuisine, is based around staple foods of sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. The most common sources of protein are chicken, eggs and fresh water fish.

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