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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Overview
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 to the north, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

 to the east, Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

 to the southeast, Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 and Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 to the southwest.

Its size is 274200 square kilometres (105,869.2 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 15,757,000. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed
Geographical renaming
Geographical renaming is the changing of the name of a geographical feature or area. This can range from the uncontroversial change of a street name to a highly disputed change to the name of a country. Some names are changed locally but the new names are not recognised by other countries,...

 on 4 August 1984, by President Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987...

 to mean "the land of upright people" in Mòoré and Dioula
Dioula language
Jula is a Mande language spoken in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. It is one of the Manding languages, and is most closely related to Bambara, being mutually intelligible with Bambara as well as Malinke. It is a trade language in West Africa and is spoken by millions of people, either as a...

, the major native languages of the country.
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Encyclopedia
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 to the north, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

 to the east, Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

 to the southeast, Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 and Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 to the southwest.

Its size is 274200 square kilometres (105,869.2 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 15,757,000. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed
Geographical renaming
Geographical renaming is the changing of the name of a geographical feature or area. This can range from the uncontroversial change of a street name to a highly disputed change to the name of a country. Some names are changed locally but the new names are not recognised by other countries,...

 on 4 August 1984, by President Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987...

 to mean "the land of upright people" in Mòoré and Dioula
Dioula language
Jula is a Mande language spoken in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. It is one of the Manding languages, and is most closely related to Bambara, being mutually intelligible with Bambara as well as Malinke. It is a trade language in West Africa and is spoken by millions of people, either as a...

, the major native languages of the country. Figuratively, "Burkina" may be translated, "men of integrity," from the Mòoré language, and "Faso" means "father's house" in Dioula. The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè (icon ).

Burkina Faso was populated between 14,000 and 5000 BC by hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s in the country's northwestern region. Farm settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. What is now central Burkina Faso was principally composed of Mossi
Mossi Kingdoms
The Mossi Kingdoms, sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Mossi Empire, were a trio of powerful states in modern-day Burkina Faso. Each state possessed similar customs and government, but were ruled independently of each other...

 kingdoms. These Mossi Kingdoms would become a French protectorate in 1896. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

 republic. The president is Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré has been the President of Burkina Faso since 1987 following a coup d'état that ousted then-President Thomas Sankara. In 2011, a mutiny by soldiers over unpaid housing allowances forced him to flee the capital for his hometown...

.

Burkina Faso's capital is Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 . The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais...

. It is a member of the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

, Community of Sahel-Saharan States
Community of Sahel-Saharan States
CEN-SAD or the Community of Sahel-Saharan States aims to create a free trade area...

,
La Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Economic Community of West African States
Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region....

.

Early history


The territory of today's Burkina Faso was populated very early, between 14,000 and 5000 BC, by hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s in the northwestern part of the country, whose tools, such as scrapers
Scraper (archaeology)
In archaeology, scrapers are unifacial tools that were used either for hideworking or woodworking purposes. Whereas this term is often used for any unifacially flaked stone tool that defies classification, most lithic analysts maintain that the only true scrapers are defined on the base of...

, chisel
Chisel
A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge in it.In use, the chisel is forced into the material...

s and arrowhead
Arrowhead
An arrowhead is a tip, usually sharpened, added to an arrow to make it more deadly or to fulfill some special purpose. Historically arrowheads were made of stone and of organic materials; as human civilization progressed other materials were used...

s, were discovered in 1973 by
Simran Nijjar. Settlements with farmers appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. On the basis of traces of the farmers' structures, the settlements appear to have been permanent. The use of iron, ceramics and polished stone developed between 1500 and 1000 BC, as well as a preoccupation with spiritual matters, as shown by burial remains.

Relics of the Dogon
Dogon people
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000 The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and...

 are found in Burkina Faso's north and northwest regions. Sometime between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Dogon left the area to settle in the cliffs of Bandiagara
Bandiagara
Bandiagara is a city in the Dogon region of Mali in Africa. The name translates roughly to "large eating bowl"—referring to the communal bowl meals are served in....

. Elsewhere, the remains of high walls are localized in the southwest of Burkina Faso (as well as in the Côte d'Ivoire), but the people who built them have not yet been identified.

The central part of Burkina Faso included a number of Mossi
Mossi Kingdoms
The Mossi Kingdoms, sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Mossi Empire, were a trio of powerful states in modern-day Burkina Faso. Each state possessed similar customs and government, but were ruled independently of each other...

 kingdoms, the most powerful of which were those of Wagadogo (Ouagadougou) and Yatenga. These kingdoms emerged probably in the early sixteenth century from obscure origins veiled by legend featuring a heterogeneous set of warrior figures.

From colony to independence



After a decade of intense rivalry and competition between the British and the French, waged through treaty-making expeditions under military or civilian explorers, the Mossi
Mossi Kingdoms
The Mossi Kingdoms, sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Mossi Empire, were a trio of powerful states in modern-day Burkina Faso. Each state possessed similar customs and government, but were ruled independently of each other...

 kingdom of Ouagadougou was defeated by French colonial forces and became a French protectorate in 1896. The eastern region and the western region, where a standoff against the forces of the powerful ruler Samori Ture complicated the situation, came under French occupation in 1897. By 1898, the majority of the territory corresponding to Burkina Faso today was nominally conquered; however, control of many parts remained uncertain.

The French and British convention of 14 June 1898 ended the scramble between the two colonial powers and drew the borders between the countries' colonies. On the French side, a war of conquest against local communities and political powers continued for about five years. In 1904, the largely pacified territories of the Volta basin
Volta River
The Volta is a river in western Africa that drains into the Gulf of Guinea. It has three main tributaries—the Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta...

 were integrated into the Upper Senegal and Niger
Upper Senegal and Niger
Upper Senegal and Niger was a colony in French West Africa created in 1904 from Senegambia and Niger. Niger became a separate military district in 1911 and a separate colony in 1922, Upper Volta was split off in 1919, and the remainder reorganized as French Sudan in 1920...

 colony of French West Africa
French West Africa
French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan , French Guinea , Côte d'Ivoire , Upper Volta , Dahomey and Niger...

 as part of the reorganization of the French West African colonial empire. The colony had its capital in Bamako
Bamako
Bamako is the capital of Mali and its largest city with a population of 1.8 million . Currently, it is estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth fastest in the world...

.

Draftees
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 from the territory participated in the European fronts of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in the battalions of the Senegalese Rifles. Between 1915 and 1916, the districts in the western part of what is now Burkina Faso and the bordering eastern fringe of Mali became the stage of one of the most important armed oppositions to colonial government, known as the Volta-Bani War. The French government finally suppressed the movement, but only after suffering defeats and being forced to gather the largest expeditionary force of its colonial history up to that point. Armed opposition also wracked the Sahelian north when the Tuareg and allied groups of the Dori region ended their truce with the government.

French Upper Volta
French Upper Volta
Upper Volta was a colony of French West Africaestablished on March 1, 1919, from territories that had been part of the colonies of Upper Senegal and Niger and the Côte d'Ivoire...

 was established on 1 March 1919. This move was a result of French fears of the recurrence of armed uprising along with economic considerations, and to bolster its administration, the colonial government separated the present territory of Burkina Faso from Upper Senegal and Niger. The new colony was named Haute Volta
French Upper Volta
Upper Volta was a colony of French West Africaestablished on March 1, 1919, from territories that had been part of the colonies of Upper Senegal and Niger and the Côte d'Ivoire...

 and François Charles Alexis Édouard Hesling became its first governor. Hesling initiated an ambitious road-making program and promoted the growth of cotton for export. The cotton policy – based on coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

 – failed, and revenue stagnated. The colony was later dismantled on 5 September 1932, being split up between the Côte d'Ivoire, French Sudan
French Sudan
French Sudan was a colony in French West Africa that had two separate periods of existence, first from 1890 to 1899, then from 1920 to 1960, when the territory became the independent nation of Mali.-Colonial establishment:...

 and Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

. Côte d'Ivoire received the largest share, which contained most of the population as well as the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso is a city with a population of about 435,543 , the second largest city in Burkina Faso, Africa, after Ouagadougou, the nation's capital. The name means literally, "home of the Jula who speak Bobo," and is possibly a creation of the French who misunderstood the identity complexities...

.
The decision to split the colony was reversed during the intense anti-colonial agitation that followed the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. On 4 September 1947, the colony was revived as a part of the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

, with its previous boundaries. On 11 December 1958, it achieved self-government
Self-governance
Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization.It may refer to personal conduct or family units but more commonly refers to larger scale activities, i.e., professions, industry bodies, religions and political units , up to and including autonomous regions and...

 and became the Republic of Upper Volta
Republic of Upper Volta
The Republic of Upper Volta was established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960 it attained full independence from France.Thomas Sankara came to power...

 and a member of the Franco-African Community. A revision in the organization of French Overseas Territories began with the passage of the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956. This act was followed by reorganizational measures approved by the French parliament early in 1957 to ensure a large degree of self-government for individual territories. Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French community on 11 December 1958. Full independence from France was received in 1960.

Upper Volta



The Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11 December 1958, as a self-governing colony
Self-governing colony
A self-governing colony is a colony with an elected legislature, in which politicians are able to make most decisions without reference to the colonial power with formal or nominal control of the colony...

 within the French Community
French Community
The French Community was an association of states known in French simply as La Communauté. In 1958 it replaced the French Union, which had itself succeeded the French colonial empire in 1946....

. The name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River
Volta River
The Volta is a river in western Africa that drains into the Gulf of Guinea. It has three main tributaries—the Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta...

 system. The river's three tributaries are called the Black Volta
Black Volta
Black Volta or Mouhoun is a river of western Africa rising in western Burkina Faso and flowing about 1,352 km to the White Volta in Ghana. The Black Volta forms a small part of the boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast, and also a section of border between Ghana and Burkina Faso.-See also:*Deux...

, White Volta
White Volta
The White Volta, also known as the Nakambe River, is the headstream of the Volta River in West Africa. It originates in Burkina Faso and it flows into Lake Volta in Ghana. Its main tributaries are the Black Volta and the Red Volta....

 and Red Volta
Red Volta
The Red Volta or Nazinon is a river in Burkina Faso. The river originates near Ouagadougou and flows about 320 km to join the White Volta....

, and the colors of the national flag corresponded to these parts of the river system.

Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta
French Upper Volta
Upper Volta was a colony of French West Africaestablished on March 1, 1919, from territories that had been part of the colonies of Upper Senegal and Niger and the Côte d'Ivoire...

 and part of the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

. On 5 August 1960, it attained full independence from France
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

. The first president, Maurice Yaméogo
Maurice Yaméogo
Maurice Yaméogo was the first President of the Republic of Upper Volta, now called Burkina Faso. He proclaimed the independence of the country on August 5, 1960 and also tried to create a union between Cote d'Ivoire and Upper-Volta...

, was the leader of the Voltaic Democratic Union (UDV). The 1960 constitution provided for election by universal suffrage of a president and a national assembly for five-year terms. Soon after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the UDV. The government lasted until 1966 when after much unrest—mass demonstrations and strikes by students, labor unions, and civil servants—the military intervened.

The military coup deposed Yaméogo, suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and placed Lt. Col. Sangoulé Lamizana
Sangoulé Lamizana
Major General Aboubakar Sangoulé Lamizana was the second president of Upper Volta , in power from January 3, 1966 to November 25, 1980...

 at the head of a government of senior army officers. The army remained in power for four years, and on 14 June 1970, the Voltans ratified a new constitution that established a four-year transition period toward complete civilian rule. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s as president of military or mixed civil-military governments. After conflict over the 1970 constitution, a new constitution was written and approved in 1977, and Lamizana was reelected by open elections in 1978.

Lamizana's government faced problems with the country's traditionally powerful trade unions, and on 25 November 1980, Col. Saye Zerbo
Saye Zerbo
Colonel Saye Zerbo was a President of Upper Volta from 25 November 1980 to 7 November 1982. He led a coup in 1980, but was resisted by trade unions and was overthrown by Maj. Dr.Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo and the Council of Popular Salvation .Zerbo comes from Tougan in Sourou Province in the western...

 overthrew President Lamizana in a bloodless coup. Colonel Zerbo established the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress as the supreme governmental authority, thus eradicating the 1977 constitution.

Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown two years later, on 7 November 1982, by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
Major Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo was President of Upper Volta from 8 November 1982 to 4 August 1983, when he was overthrown in a coup d’état which brought Thomas Sankara into power....

 and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP). The CSP continued to ban political parties and organizations, yet promised a transition to civilian rule and a new constitution.

Factional infighting developed between moderates in the CSP and the radicals, led by Capt. Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987...

, who was appointed prime minister in January 1983. The internal political struggle and Sankara's leftist rhetoric led to his arrest and subsequent efforts to bring about his release, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré has been the President of Burkina Faso since 1987 following a coup d'état that ousted then-President Thomas Sankara. In 2011, a mutiny by soldiers over unpaid housing allowances forced him to flee the capital for his hometown...

. This release effort resulted in yet another military coup d'état on 4 August 1983.

After the coup, Sankara formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with himself as president. Sankara also established Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to "mobilize the masses" and implement the CNR's revolutionary programs. The CNR, whose exact membership remained secret until the end, contained two small intellectual Marxist-Leninist groups. Sankara, Compaore, Capt. Henri Zongo
Henri Zongo
Henri Zongo was a military officer in the army of Burkina Faso and a key figure in the country's history after decolonisation. He was responsible on 15 October 1987 for the overthrow of the country's government after power became too concentrated with the country's military leaders whom included...

, and Maj. Jean-Baptiste Lingani—all leftist military officers—dominated the regime.

On 4 August 1984, as a final result of President Sankara's zealous activities, the country's name was eventually changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which translates to "land of honest people".

Burkina Faso


On 15 October 1987 Sankara was killed by an armed gang with twelve other officials in a coup d'état organised by his former colleague, Blaise Compaoré. Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given, with Compaore stating that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast. Prince Johnson
Prince Johnson
Prince Yormie Johnson is a Liberian politician and the current Senior Senator from Nimba County."Prince" is a common given name for males in Liberia, rather than a royal title...

, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, told Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that it was engineered by Charles Taylor. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days.

Sankara's body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave, while his widow and two children fled the nation. Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara's policies, returned the country back under the IMF fold, and ultimately spurned most of Sankara's legacy. As of 2010, Compaoré is entering his 23rd year in power. He "has become immensely wealthy" and purchased a presidential plane to reflect his personal prestige, while landlocked Burkina Faso ranks as the third least developed country in the world.

In February–April 2011, the death of a schoolboy provoked an uprising throughout the country, coupled with a military mutiny and a strike of the magistrates, dubbed the 2011 Burkinabè protests
2011 Burkinabè protests
The 2011 Burkinabè protests are a series of popular protests in Burkina Faso.-Background:On 15 February soldiers mutinied in the capital Ouagadougou over unpaid housing allowances; President Blaise Compaoré briefly fled the capital and sought safety in his hometown of Ziniaré...

.

Politics


With French help, the incumbent Blaise Compaoré seized power in a coup d'état in 1987, betraying his long-time friend and ally Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987...

, who was killed in the coup.

The constitution of 2 June 1991 established a semi-presidential government with a parliament which can be dissolved by the President of the Republic, who is elected for a term of seven years.

In 2000, the constitution was amended to reduce the presidential term to five years. The amendment took effect during the 2005 elections. The amendment also would have prevented the incumbent president, Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré
Blaise Compaoré has been the President of Burkina Faso since 1987 following a coup d'état that ousted then-President Thomas Sankara. In 2011, a mutiny by soldiers over unpaid housing allowances forced him to flee the capital for his hometown...

, from being reelected.

However, in October 2005, notwithstanding a challenge by other presidential candidates, the constitutional council ruled that, because Compaoré was the sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply to him until the end of his second term in office. This cleared the way for his candidacy in the 2005 election
Burkina Faso presidential elections, 2005
A presidential election was held in Burkina Faso on November 13, 2005. The incumbent president, Blaise Compaoré, was currently leading with about 80% of the vote....

. On 13 November, Compaoré was reelected in a landslide, because of a divided political opposition.

In the 2010 November Presidential elections, President Compaoré was reelected for another term in office. Only 1.6 million Burkinabès voted, out of a total population 10 times that size.

The parliament consists of one chamber known as the National Assembly which has 111 seats with members elected to serve five year terms. There is also a constitutional chamber, composed of ten members, and an economic and social council whose roles are purely consultative.

Political freedoms are severely restricted in Burkina Faso, with human rights organizations decrying numerous acts of state-sponsored violence against journalists and other politically active members of society.

Regions, provinces, and departments


Burkina Faso is divided into thirteen regions, forty-five provinces, and 301 department
Departments of Burkina Faso
The provinces of Burkina Faso are divided into 301 departments or communes. The departments are listed below, by province:-Balé:* Bagassi Department* Bana Department* Boromo Department* Fara Department* Oury Department* Pâ Department...

s. The regions are:
  • Boucle du Mouhoun
    Boucle du Mouhoun Region
    Boucle du Mouhoun is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. It was created on 2 July 2001 and had a population of 1,434,847 in 2006. It is the 2nd most populous region in Burkina Faso after Centre Region, and contains 10.5% of all Burkinabé. The region's capital is Dédougou. Six provinces...

  • Cascades
    Cascades Region
    Cascades is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. It was created on 2 July 2001. The population of Cascades was 524,956 in 2006. It is the least populous region in Burkina Faso and contains 3.8% of all Burkinabé. The region's capital is Banfora. Two provinces, Comoé and Léraba, make up...

  • Centre
  • Centre-Est
    Centre-Est Region
    Centre-Est is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. The population of Centre-Est was 1,132,023 in 2006. The region's capital is Tenkodogo. Three provinces - Boulgou, Koulpélogo, and Kouritenga, make up the region. In 2005, this region was governed by Jacob Ouedraogo ....

  • Centre-Nord
    Centre-Nord Region
    Centre-Nord is one of thirteen administrative regions of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in Africa. The population of Centre-Nord in 2006 was 1,203,073. The region's capital is Kaya. Three provinces - Bam, Namentenga, and Sanmatenga, make up the region....

  • Centre-Ouest
    Centre-Ouest Region
    Centre-Ouest is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. The population of Centre-Ouest was 1,183,473 in 2006. The region's capital is Koudougou. Four provinces - Boulkiemdé, Sanguié, Sissili, and Ziro, make up the region....

  • Centre-Sud
    Centre-Sud Region
    Centre-Sud is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. The population of Centre-Sud was 638,379 in 2006. The region's capital is Manga. Three provinces - Bazèga, Nahouri, and Zoundwéogo, make up the region....

  • Est
  • Hauts-Bassins
    Hauts-Bassins Region
    Hauts-Bassins is one of Burkina Faso's thirteen administrative regions. It was created on 2 July 2001. The population of Hauts-Bassins was 1,410,284 in 2006. The region's capital is Bobo Dioulasso. Three provinces make up the region - Houet, Kénédougou, and Tuy....

  • Nord
  • Plateau-Central
    Plateau-Central Region
    Plateau-Central is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. It was created on 2 July 2001 and had an estimated population of 647,516 in 2006. The region's capital is Ziniaré. Three provinces make up the region - Ganzourgou, Kourwéogo, and Oubritenga....

  • Sahel
    Sahel Region
    Sahel is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. It was created on 2 July 2001 and had a population of 808,928 in 2006. The region's capital is Dori. Four provinces make up the region - Oudalan, Séno, Soum, and Yagha....

  • Sud-Ouest

Military, police, and security forces



The country employs numerous police and security forces, generally modeled after organizations used by French police, and France continues to provide significant support and training to police forces in Burkina Faso. The Gendarmerie Nationale is organized along military lines, with most police services delivered at the brigade level. The Gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

 operates under the authority of the Minister of Defence, and its members are employed chiefly in the rural areas and along borders.

There is also a municipal police force controlled by the Ministry of Territorial Administration; a national police force controlled by the Ministry of Security; and an autonomous Presidential Security Regiment (Régiment de la Sécurité Présidentielle, or RSP), a ‘palace guard’ devoted to the protection of the President of the Republic. Both the gendarmerie and the national police are subdivided into both administrative and judicial police functions; the former are detailed to protect public order and provide security, the latter are charged with criminal investigations.

All foreigners and citizens are required to carry photo ID passports, or other forms of identification or risk a fine, and police spot identity checks are commonplace for persons traveling by auto, bush-taxi
Share taxi
A share taxi is a mode of transport that falls between taxis and conventional buses. These informal vehicles for hire are found throughout the world. They are smaller than buses, and usually take passengers on a fixed or semi-fixed route without timetables, usually leaving when all seats are filled...

, or bus.

The army consists of some 6,000 men in voluntary service, augmented by a part-time national People's Militia composed of civilians between 25 and 35 years of age who are trained in both military and civil duties. According to Jane’s Sentinel Country Risk Assessment, Burkina Faso's Army is small and poorly equipped, but has numbers of wheeled light-armour vehicles, and may have developed useful combat expertise through interventions in Liberia and elsewhere in Africa.

The army is relatively well-funded and motivated by African standards, although undermanned for its force structure. The regular army is believed to be neglected in relation to the élite Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) and reports have emerged in recent years of disputes over pay and conditions. There is an air force with some 19 operational aircraft, but no navy, as the country is landlocked. Military expenses constitute approximately 1.2% of the nation’s GDP.

In April 2011, there was an army mutiny; the president named new chiefs of staff, and a curfew was imposed in Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 . The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais...

.

Geography and climate


Burkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes
9th parallel north
The 9th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 9 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 15°N
15th parallel north
The 15th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 15 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W
6th meridian west
The meridian 6° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 3°E
3rd meridian east
The meridian 3° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain
Peneplain
A peneplain is a low-relief plain representing the final stage of fluvial erosion during times of extended tectonic stability. The existence of peneplains, and peneplanation as a geomorphological process, is not without controversy, due to a lack of contemporary examples and uncertainty in...

, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 massif, where the highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 metres (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 metres (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 metres (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 metres (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.

The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta
Black Volta
Black Volta or Mouhoun is a river of western Africa rising in western Burkina Faso and flowing about 1,352 km to the White Volta in Ghana. The Black Volta forms a small part of the boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast, and also a section of border between Ghana and Burkina Faso.-See also:*Deux...

 (or Mouhoun), the White Volta
White Volta
The White Volta, also known as the Nakambe River, is the headstream of the Volta River in West Africa. It originates in Burkina Faso and it flows into Lake Volta in Ghana. Its main tributaries are the Black Volta and the Red Volta....

 (Nakambé) and the Red Volta
Red Volta
The Red Volta or Nazinon is a river in Burkina Faso. The river originates near Ouagadougou and flows about 320 km to join the White Volta....

 (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country's only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komoé
Komoé River
The Komoé River is a river in West Africa. The river originates in Burkina Faso, is joined by the Léraba River, then forms the border between Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire until it enters Côte d'Ivoire near Ferké, where it is the major drainage for northeastern portion of that country before...

, which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

 also drains
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 27% of the country's surface.

The Niger's tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 – the Béli, the Gorouol, the Goudébo and the Dargol – are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still, however, can cause large flood
Flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

s. The country also contains numerous lakes – the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam
Lake Bam
Lake Bam is located near the town of Kongoussi, in Burkina Faso. The lake is slowly drying up putting the nearby village's agriculture, fish stocks and cattle watering at risk....

 and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, Béli, Yomboli and Markoye. Water shortages
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.
Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 600 and 900 mm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan
Harmattan
The Harmattan is a dry and dusty West African trade wind. It blows south from the Sahara into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March...

 – a hot dry wind from the Sahara – blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June to September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

 in the north typically receives less than 600 millimetres (23.6 in) of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5 –.

A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

 to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan
Sudan (region)
The Sudan is the name given to a geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western to Eastern Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilâd as-sûdân or "land of the Blacks"...

 to the South. Situated between 11°3' and 13°5' north latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 900 millimetres (35.4 in) of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.

Burkina Faso's natural resources include manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

, limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

s, pumice
Pumice
Pumice is a textural term for a volcanic rock that is a solidified frothy lava typically created when super-heated, highly pressurized rock is violently ejected from a volcano. It can be formed when lava and water are mixed. This unusual formation is due to the simultaneous actions of rapid...

, salt and small deposits of gold.

Burkina Faso's fauna and flora are protected in two national parks and several reserves: see List of national parks in Africa, Nature reserves of Burkina Faso.

Economy


Burkina Faso has one of the lowest GDP per capita figures in the world: $1,200. Agriculture represents 32% of its gross domestic product and occupies 80% of the working population. It consists mostly of livestock but also, especially in the south and southwest, of growing sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

, pearl millet
Pearl millet
Pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet. Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times, it is generally accepted that pearl millet originated in Africa and was subsequently introduced into India. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for...

, maize (corn)
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s, rice and cotton. A large part of the economic activity of the country is funded by international aid.

Burkina Faso was ranked the 111th safest investment destination in the world in the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings.

Remittances used to be an important source of income to Burkina Faso until the 1990s, when unrest in Côte d'Ivoire, the main destination for Burkinabe emigrants, forced many to return home. Remittances now account for less than 1% of GDP.

Burkina Faso is part of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UMEOA) and has thus adopted the CFA Franc, which is issued by the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO), situated in Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

, Senegal. The BCEAO is not only responsible for the monetary and reserve policy of the member states, but also for the regulation and oversight of financial sector and banking activity. A legal framework regarding licensing, bank activities, organizational and capital requirements, inspections and sanctions (all applicable to all countries of the Union) is in place and underwent significant reforms in 1999. Micro-finance institutions are governed by a separate law, which regulates micro-finance activities in all WAEMU countries. The insurance sector is regulated through the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA).

There is mining of copper, iron, manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

 and gold. These operations provide employment, international aid, and in some cases hospitals at mines for the public.

Burkina Faso also hosts the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou, better known by its French name as SIAO
SIAO
Held biennially in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou--better known by its French name as SIAO is one of Africa's most important trade shows for art and handicrafts.-Why the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou:The Ouagadougou...

, Le Salon International de l' Artisanat de Ouagadougou, one of the most important African handicraft fairs.

Burkina Faso is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

While services remain underdeveloped, one state-owned utility company run along commercial lines is emerging as one of the best performing utility companies in Africa, the National Office for Water and Sanitation (ONEA). High levels of autonomy and a skilled and dedicated management has driven ONEA's ability to improve production of and access to water. Since 2000, nearly 2 million more people have access to water in the four principal urban centres in the country while at the same time keeping the quality of infrastructure high (less than 18% of the water is lost through leaks – one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

), improving financial reporting and an average 12% annual revenue increase (well above inflation). Challenges remain, including the some customers' ability to pay and a reliance on aid for the expansion of its infrastructure. However, the state-owned commercially run venture has helped lead Burkina Faso's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in its water-related targets and grow as a viable company.

Demographics



Burkina Faso's 15.3 million people belong to two major West African cultural groups—the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula
Dioula language
Jula is a Mande language spoken in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. It is one of the Manding languages, and is most closely related to Bambara, being mutually intelligible with Bambara as well as Malinke. It is a trade language in West Africa and is spoken by millions of people, either as a...

). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from Ghana and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is still led by the Mogho Naba
Mogho Naba
Mogho Naba is a title for king of the Mossi, an ethnic group in Burkina Faso.-References:...

, whose court is in Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso is an ethnically integrated, secular state. Most of Burkina's people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, sometimes exceeding 48 per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). Hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe migrate to Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, many for seasonal agricultural work. These flows of workers are obviously affected by external events; the September 2002 coup attempt in Côte d'Ivoire and the ensuing fighting there have meant that hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe returned to Burkina Faso.

Health



Average life expectancy at birth in 2004 was estimated at 52 for females and 50 for males. The median age of its inhabitants is 16.7. The estimated population growth rate is 3.109%.
Central government spending on health was 3 % in 2001. As of 2009, it was estimated that there were as few as 10 physicians per 100,000 people. In addition there were only 41 nurses, and 13 midwives per 100,000 people. Demographic and Health Surveys
Demographic and Health Surveys
The MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys Project is responsible for collecting and disseminating accurate, nationally representative data on health and population in developing countries. The project is implemented by Macro International, Inc...

 has completed three surveys in Burkina Faso since 1993 and is currently in the process of performing another.

According to the World Health Organization in 2005 an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso's girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation.

Religion




Statistics on religion in Burkina Faso are inexact, because Islam and Christianity are often practiced in tandem with indigenous religious beliefs. The Government of Burkina Faso stated in its most recent census (2006) that 60.5% of the population practice Islam, and that the majority of this group belong to the Sunni branch, while a growing minority adheres to the Shi'a branch. A significant number of Sunni Muslims identify with the Tijaniyah Sufi order. The Government also estimated that some 23.2% are Christians (19% being Roman Catholics and 4.2% members of various Protestant denominations), 15.3% follow Traditional indigenous beliefs
African Traditional Religion
The traditional religions indigenous to Africa have, for most of their existence, been orally rather than scripturally transmitted. They are generally associated with animism. Most have ethno-based creations stories...

, 0.6% have other religions, and 0.4% have none (atheism is virtually nonexistent).

A popular saying in Burkina Faso claims that "50% are Muslim, 50% are Christian, and 100% are animist". This shows the large level of acceptance of the various religions amongst each other. Even for Muslims and Christians, ancient animist rites are still highly valued. The Great Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso is a city with a population of about 435,543 , the second largest city in Burkina Faso, Africa, after Ouagadougou, the nation's capital. The name means literally, "home of the Jula who speak Bobo," and is possibly a creation of the French who misunderstood the identity complexities...

 was built by people of different faiths working together.

Culture




Literature in Burkina Faso is based on the oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, which remains important.
In 1934, during French occupation, Dim-Dolobsom Ouedraogo published his Maximes, pensées et devinettes mossi (Maximes, Thoughts and Riddles of the Mossi), a record of the oral history of the Mossi people. The oral tradition continued to have an influence on Burkinabè writers in the post-independence Burkina Faso of the 1960s, such as Nazi Boni
Nazi Boni
Nazi Boni was a politician from Upper Volta . In 1951 Boni was elected to the French National Assembly on behalf of the Voltaic Union. In 1955 Boni founded the African Popular Movement after a split from the UV...

 and Roger Nikiema. The 1960s saw a growth in the number of playwrights being published. Since the 1970s, literature has developed in Burkina Faso with many more writers being published.

The theatre of Burkina Faso
Theatre of Burkina Faso
Theatre of Burkina Faso combines traditional Burkinabé performance with the colonial influences and post-colonial efforts to educate rural people to produce a distinctive national theatre. Traditional ritual ceremonies of the many ethnic groups in Burkina Faso have long involved dancing with masks...

 combines traditional Burkinabè performance with the colonial influences and post-colonial efforts to educate rural people to produce a distinctive national theatre. Traditional ritual ceremonies of the many ethnic groups in Burkina Faso have long involved dancing with mask
Mask
A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes...

s. Western-style theatre became common during colonial times, heavily influenced by French theatre. With independence came a new style of theatre inspired by forum theatre
Theatre of the Oppressed
The Theatre of the Oppressed describes a range of theatrical forms that the Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal first elaborated in the 1960s, initially in Brazil and later in Europe. Boal was influenced by the work of the educator and theorist Paulo Freire. Boal's techniques use theatre as...

 aimed at educating and entertaining Burkina Faso's rural people.

Cuisine



The cuisine of Burkina Faso, typical of west African cuisine, is based around staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

s of sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

, millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

, rice, maize, peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s, potatoes, bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s, yam
Yam (vegetable)
Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea . These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania...

s and okra
Okra
Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins...

. The most common sources of protein are chicken, chicken eggs and fresh water fish. A typical Burkinabè beverage is Banji or Palm Wine, which is fermented palm sap, and Zoom-kom. Especially the town of Banfora
Banfora
Banfora is a city in south western Burkina Faso with a population of 63,300 people . It is the capital of the Comoe province. It has grown around the sugar cane industry. The city lies south-west of Bobo-Dioulasso, on the Abidjan – Ouagadougou railway. The main ethnic groups are the Gouin,the...

 is known for its good quality Banji, though one should be wary of the Banji sold by hawkers
Hawker (trade)
A hawker is a vendor of merchandise that can be easily transported; the term is roughly synonymous with peddler or costermonger. In most places where the term is used, a hawker sells items or food that are native to the area...

 as it is often not very fresh and may contain added water.

On 30 August 2009, Burkina Faso experienced the worst flood in the country's recent history, leaving 150,000 people homeless, and more than 8 people dead. Burkina Faso people requested international aid to help the victims and rebuild the country. Japan, France, Ivory Coast and the European Union responded, while the Burkina American community requested that the president of the United States of America extend a helping hand to the victims of the flood. As a result of the flood, access to clean water has been difficult for survivors.

Cinema


The cinema of Burkina Faso
Cinema of Burkina Faso
The cinema of Burkina Faso is one of the more significant in Africa, with a history that spans several decades and includes the production of many award-winning films.-History:...

 is an important part of West African and African film industry. Burkina's contribution to African cinema
African cinema
The term African cinema refers to the film production in Africa, following formal independence. Some of the countries in North Africa developed a national film industry much earlier and are related to West Asian cinema...

 started with the establishment of the film festival FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou), which was launched as a film week in 1969. Many of the nation's filmmakers are known internationally and have won international prizes. For many years the headquarters of the Federation of Panafrican Filmmakers (FEPACI) was in Ouagadougou, rescued in 1983 from a period of moribund inactivity by the enthusiastic support and funding of President Sankara (In 2006 the Secretariat of FEPACI moved to South Africa but the headquarters of the organization is still in Ouagaoudougou). Among the best known directors from Burkina Faso are: Gaston Kaboré
Gaston Kaboré
Gaston Kaboré is a Burkinabé film director and an important figure in Burkina Faso's film industry. He has won awards for his films Wend Kuuni and Buud Yam.-Biography:Kaboré was born in 1951 in Bobo-Dioulasso in Upper Volta....

, Idrissa Ouedraogo
Idrissa Ouedraogo
Idrissa Ouedraogo is a film director from Burkina Faso. He is best known for his films Yaaba and Tilaï.-Biography:...

 and Dani Kouyate
Dani Kouyaté
Dani Kouyaté is a film director and griot from Burkina Faso, which BBC describes as "Africa's most important film-making country".-Biography:...

, Burkina also produces popular television series such as Bobodjiouf. The internationally known filmmakers such as Ouedraogo, Kabore, Yameogo, and Kouyate also make popular television series.

Sports



Sport in Burkina Faso is widespread and includes football (soccer),basketball, cycling, Rugby union, handball, tennis, athletics, boxing and martial arts. Football is very popular in Burkina Faso, played both professionally, and informally in towns and villages across the country. The national team is nicknamed "Les Etalons" ("the Stallions") in reference to the legendary horse of Princess Yennenga
Yennenga
Yennenga, also known as Yennenga the Svelte, was a legendary African princess, considered the mother of the Mossi people of Burkina Faso. She was a famous warrior whose son Ouedraogo founded the Mossi Kingdoms.-Biography:...

. In 1998, Burkina Faso hosted the African Cup of Nations for which the Omnisport Stadium in Bobo-Dioulasso was built.The country is currently ranked 42nd in the FIFA World Rankings
FIFA World Rankings
The FIFA World Rankings is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Spain. The teams of the member nations of FIFA , football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest...

.

Education




Education in Burkina Faso is divided into primary, secondary and higher education. However schooling costs approximately CFA 50,000 ($97 USD) per year, which is far above the means of most Burkinabè families. Boys receive preference in schooling; as such, girls' education and literacy rates are far lower than their male counterparts. An increase in girls' schooling has been observed because of the government's policy of making school cheaper for girls and granting them more scholarships. In order to proceed from elementary to middle school, middle to high school or high school to college, national exams must be passed. Institutions of higher education include the University of Ouagadougou
University of Ouagadougou
Founded in 1974, the University of Ouagadougou is located in the area of Zogona in Ouagadougou. But in 1995 a second campus for professional education known as University Polytechnique of Bobo was opened in the city of Bobo Dioulasso and a third campus for teacher training in Koudougou in 1996...

, The Polytechnical University in Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso
Bobo-Dioulasso is a city with a population of about 435,543 , the second largest city in Burkina Faso, Africa, after Ouagadougou, the nation's capital. The name means literally, "home of the Jula who speak Bobo," and is possibly a creation of the French who misunderstood the identity complexities...

 and the University of Koudougou, which is also a teacher training institution. There are private colleges in the capital city of Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 . The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais...

 but these are affordable by only a small portion of the population.

There is also an International School of Ouagadougou
International School of Ouagadougou
The International School of Ouagadougou is an English-language using international school in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, established in 1976. The school is independent and teaches students from prekindergarten to Grade 12. In 2004 to 2005 there were 146 students...

 (ISO), which is an American-based private school located in Ouagadougou.

The UN Development Program Report ranks Burkina Faso as the country with the lowest level of literacy in the world, despite a concerted effort to double its literacy rate from 12.8% in 1990 to 25.3% in 2008.

National and independent media



The nation's principal media outlet is its state-sponsored combined television and radio service, Radiodiffusion-Télévision Burkina (RTB). RTB broadcasts on two medium-wave (AM
Amplitude modulation
Amplitude modulation is a technique used in electronic communication, most commonly for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. AM works by varying the strength of the transmitted signal in relation to the information being sent...

) and several FM
Frequency modulation
In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its instantaneous frequency. This contrasts with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier is varied while its frequency remains constant...

 frequencies. Besides RTB, there are also a number of privately owned sports, cultural, music, and religious FM radio stations. RTB also maintains a worldwide short-wave news broadcast (Radio Nationale Burkina) in the French language from the capital at Ouagadougou using a 100 kW transmitter on 4.815 and 5.030 MHz.

Attempts to develop an independent press and media in Burkina Faso have been intermittent. In 1998, investigative journalist Norbert Zongo
Norbert Zongo
Norbert Zongo was the publisher and editor of the Burkina Faso newspaper l'Indépendant. He was assassinated after his newspaper began investigating the murder of a driver who had worked for the brother of President Blaise Compaoré.On December 13, 1998, Zongo's burned body was found along with...

, his brother Ernest, his driver, and another man were assassinated by unknown assailants, and the bodies burned. The crime was never solved. However, an independent Commission of Inquiry later concluded that Norbert Zongo was killed for political reasons because of his investigative work into the death of David Ouedraogo, a chauffeur who worked for François Compaoré, President Blaise Compaoré's brother.In January 1999, François Compaoré was charged with the murder of David Ouedraogo, who had died as a result of torture in January 1998. The charges were later dropped by a military tribunal after an appeal. In August 2000, five members of the President's personal security guard detail (Régiment de la Sécurité Présidentielle, or RSP) were charged with the murder of Ouedraogo. RSP members Marcel Kafando, Edmond Koama, and Ousseini Yaro, investigated as suspects in the Norbert Zongo assassination, were convicted in the Ouedraogo case and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Since the death of Norbert Zongo, several protests regarding the Zongo investigation and treatment of journalists have been prevented or dispersed by government police and security forces. In April 2007, popular radio reggae host Karim Sama, whose programs feature reggae songs interspersed with critical commentary on alleged government injustice and corruption, received several death threats. Sama's personal car was later burned outside the private radio station Ouaga FM by unknown vandals. In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit organisation based in New York City that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.-History:A group of U.S...

 (CPJ) wrote to President Compaoré to request his government investigate the sending of e-mailed death threats to journalists and radio commentators in Burkina Faso who were critical of the government. In December 2008, police in Ouagadougou questioned leaders of a protest march that called for a renewed investigation into the unsolved Zongo assassination. Among the marchers was Jean-Claude Meda, the president of the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso.

See also



  • 2010 Sahel famine
    2010 Sahel famine
    A large-scale, drought-induced famine occurred in Africa's Sahel region and many parts of the neighboring Sénégal River Area and Horn of Africa from February to August 2010...

  • Ambassadors to Burkina Faso
    Ambassadors to Burkina Faso
    This is a list of all the current ambassadors to Burkina Faso. Note: For a list of former ambassadors from each country, follow the Former Ambassadors link...

  • Communications in Burkina Faso
    Communications in Burkina Faso
    Communications in Burkina Faso are limited due to the low penetration of electricity, even in major cities. Use of telecommunications is extremely low. According to the International Telecommunication Union, in 2004 there were only 479,000 telephone subscribers in the country of nearly 11 million...

  • Contour bunding
  • Foreign relations of Burkina Faso
    Foreign relations of Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso has good relations with the European Union, African, and Asian countries. France, the former colonial power, in particular, continues to provide significant aid and supports Compaoré's developing role as a regional powerbroker...

  • Holidays in Burkina Faso
  • LGBT rights in Burkina Faso (Gay rights)
  • List of cities in Burkina Faso
  • List of publications in Burkina Faso
  • Military of Burkina Faso
    Military of Burkina Faso
    The branches of Burkina Faso's military include its Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police, and People's Militia. Being a landlocked country, Burkina Faso has no navy....

  • Music of Burkina Faso
    Music of Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso is home to some 60 different ethnic groups, each with their own variety of folk music. The country has produced very little popular music compared to its neighbors, which includes African musical giants like Nigeria and the Ivory Coast...

  • Tourism in Burkina Faso
  • Transport in Burkina Faso
    Transport in Burkina Faso
    This article concerns the systems of transport in Burkina Faso, which primarily include road and rail infrastructure.- Railways :There are 622 kilometres of railway in Burkina Faso, of which 517 km run from Ouagadougou to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; and 105 km from Ouagadougou to Kaya. All...

  • Wildlife of Burkina Faso
    Wildlife of Burkina Faso
    The wildlife of Burkina Faso is composed of its flora and fauna. The area is largely wild bush country with a mixture of grass and small trees in varying proportions. The savanna region is mainly grassland in the rainy season and semi desert during the harmattan period...


Further Reading

  • de Turégano, Teresa Hoefert, African Cinema and Europe: Close-up on Burkina Faso, (European Press Academic Publishing, 2004)
  • Engberg-Perderson, Lars, Endangering Development: Politics, Projects, and Environment in Burkina Faso, (Praeger Publishers, 2003)
  • Englebert, Pierre, Burkina Faso: Unsteady Statehood in West Africa, (Perseus, 1999)
  • Howorth, Chris, Rebuilding the Local Landscape: Environmental Management in Burkina Faso, (Ashgate, 1999)
  • McFarland, Daniel Miles and Rupley, Lawrence A, Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso, (Scarecrow Press, 1998)
  • Manson, Katrina and Knight, James, Burkina Faso (Bradt Travel Guides), (Bradt Travel Guides, 2011)
  • Roy, Christopher D and Wheelock, Thomas G B, Land of the Flying Masks: Art and Culture in Burkina Faso: The Thomas G.B. Wheelock Collection, (Prestel Publishing, 2007)
  • Sankara, Thomas, Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-1987, (Pathfinder Press, 2007)
  • Sankara, Thomas, We are the Heirs of the World's Revolutions: Speeches from the Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-1987, (Pathfinder Press, 2007)

External links


  • Premier Ministère official government portal (in French)
  • Chief of State and Cabinet Members
  • LeFaso.net News information site
  • Burkina Faso from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • News headline links from AllAfrica.com
    AllAfrica.com
    AllAfrica.com is a website that aggregates news produced primarily on the African continent about all areas of African life, politics, issues and culture. It is available in both English and French and produced by AllAfrica Global Media, which has offices in Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Monrovia,...

  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Country profile at New Internationalist
    New Internationalist
    New Internationalist is a magazine from New Internationalist Publications, a co-operative-run publisher based in Oxford, England. It has editorial and sales offices in Toronto, Canada; Adelaide, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand; and New York, USA....