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By Referrals > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Burkina Faso
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Map of Burkina Faso
IntroductionTop
Background: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. 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.
GeographyTop
Location:Western Africa, north of Ghana
Geographic coordinates:13 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references:Africa
Area:total: 274,200 sq km
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly larger than Colorado
Land boundaries: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: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, phosphates, pumice, salt
Land use:arable land: 14.43%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 85.38% (2001)

Irrigated land:250 sq km (1998 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, 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
PeopleTop
Population:13,925,313
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 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 46% (male 3,213,436/female 3,193,253)
15-64 years: 51.2% (male 3,487,201/female 3,635,673)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 164,418/female 231,332) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 16.82 years
male: 16.43 years
female: 17.22 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:2.53% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:44.17 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:18.86 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 97.57 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 105.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 89.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 43.92 years
male: 42.19 years
female: 45.7 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:6.23 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:4.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:300,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:29,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups:Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
Religions:indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%
Languages:French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 26.6%
male: 36.9%
female: 16.6% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta

Government type:parliamentary republic
Capital:Ouagadougou
Administrative divisions: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, Namentenga, Nahouri, Nayala, Noumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro, Zondoma, Zoundweogo
Independence:5 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:Republic Day, 11 December (1958)
Constitution:2 June 1991 approved by referendum; 11 June 1991 formally adopted; amended April 2000
Legal system:based on French civil law system and customary law
Suffrage:universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga 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; election last held 15 November 1998 (next to be held NA 2005); in April 2000, the constitution was amended reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005, and allowing the president to be reelected only once; it is unclear whether this amendment will be applied retroactively or not; prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president with 87.5% percent of the vote

Legislative branch: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, others 17

Judicial branch:Supreme Court; Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or RDA-ADF [Herman YAMEOGO]; 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 or PDP [Joseph KI-ZERBO]; Socialist Party or PS [leader NA]; Union of Greens for the Development of Burkina Faso or UVDB [Ram OVEDRAGO]
Political pressure groups and leaders: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:ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OIC, ONUB, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOCI, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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
EconomyTop
Economy - overview: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 harsh climatic conditions. Cotton is the key crop and the government has joined with other cotton producing countries in the region 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 African 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 microeconomic policies, including reducing the trade deficit and 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.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $15.74 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:4.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 39.5%
industry: 19.3%
services: 41.3% (2004 est.)

Labor force:5 million
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2003)

Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 90% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:NA%
Population below poverty line:45% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 46.8% (1994)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:48.2 (1994)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.4% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):29.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $695.2 million
expenditures: $876.3 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock
Industries:cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold
Industrial production growth rate:14% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:361 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 69.9%
hydro: 30.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:335.7 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:8,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Current account balance:$-471.7 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$418.6 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:cotton, livestock, gold
Exports - partners:China 32.3%, Singapore 10.7%, Bangladesh 4.5%, Ghana 4.4%, Colombia 4.4% (2004)
Imports:$866.3 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
Imports - partners:France 31.5%, Cote d'Ivoire 13.9%, Togo 8.5% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$474.9 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$1.3 billion (2000)
Currency (code):Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code:XOF
Exchange rates:Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:65,400 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:227,000 (2003)
Telephone system: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:AM 3, FM 17, shortwave 3 (2002)
Radios:394,020 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:1 (2002)
Televisions:131,340 (2002)
Internet country code:.bf
Internet hosts:442 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2002)
Internet users:48,000 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note:: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote D'Ivoire (2004)

Highways:total: 12,506 km
paved: 2,001 km
unpaved: 10,505 km (1999)

Airports:33 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 17 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie (2005)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for compulsory military service; 20 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 2,664,572 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 1,323,548 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$64.2 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.3% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international: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



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