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. Former President Blaise COMPAORE (1987-2014) resigned in late October 2014 following popular protests against his efforts to amend the Constitution's two-term presidential limit. By mid-November, a framework for an interim government was adopted under the terms of the National Transition Charter. An interim administration, led by President Michel KAFANDO and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac ZIDA, began organizing presidential and legislative elections planned for October 2015, but these were postponed during a weeklong failed coup in September. The rescheduled elections were held on 29 November, and Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president in the first round. Burkina Faso's high population growth and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.



Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates

13 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references



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

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries

total: 3,611 km
border countries (6): Benin 386 km, Cote d'Ivoire 545 km, Ghana 602 km, Mali 1,325 km, Niger 622 km, Togo 131 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers


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


mean elevation: 297 m
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

agricultural land: 43%
arable land 20.8%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 21.9%
forest: 20.4%
other: 36.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

550 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

recurring droughts

Environment - current issues

recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Mossi 52.5%, Fulani 8.4%, Gurma 6.8%, Bobo 4.8%, Gurunsi 4.5%, Senufo 4.4%, Bissa 3.9%, Lobi 2.5%, Dagara 2.4%, Tuareg/Bella 1.9%, Dioula 0.8%, unspecified/no answer 0.1%, other 7% (2010 est.)

Birth rate

41.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)


note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)


noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe


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


Muslim 61.6%, Catholic 23.2%, traditional/animist 7.3%, Protestant 6.7%, other/no answer 0.2%, none 0.9% (2010 est.)

Demographic profile

Burkina Faso has a young age structure – the result of declining mortality combined with steady high fertility – and continues to experience rapid population growth, which is putting increasing pressure on the country’s limited arable land. More than 65% of the population is under the age of 25, and the population is growing at 3% annually. Mortality rates, especially those of infants and children, have decreased because of improved health care, hygiene, and sanitation, but women continue to have an average of almost 6 children. Even if fertility were substantially reduced, today’s large cohort entering their reproductive years would sustain high population growth for the foreseeable future. Only about a third of the population is literate and unemployment is widespread, dampening the economic prospects of Burkina Faso’s large working-age population.
Migration has traditionally been a way of life for Burkinabe, with seasonal migration being replaced by stints of up to two years abroad. Cote d’Ivoire remains the top destination, although it has experienced periods of internal conflict. Under French colonization, Burkina Faso became a main labor source for agricultural and factory work in Cote d’Ivoire. Burkinabe also migrated to Ghana, Mali, and Senegal for work between the world wars. Burkina Faso attracts migrants from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Mali, who often share common ethnic backgrounds with the Burkinabe. Despite its food shortages and high poverty rate, Burkina Faso has become a destination for refugees in recent years and currently hosts about 50,000 Malians.

Age structure

0-14 years: 45.04% (male 4,402,311/female 4,386,518)
15-24 years: 20.08% (male 1,966,644/female 1,951,722)
25-54 years: 29.28% (male 2,898,407/female 2,813,923)
55-64 years: 3.16% (male 267,763/female 349,433)
65 years and over: 2.44% (male 178,127/female 297,685) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 92.2%
youth dependency ratio: 87.6%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.6%
potential support ratio: 21.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 17.2 years
male: 17 years
female: 17.3 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

3.01% (2016 est.)

Death rate

11.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 29.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 5.87% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

OUAGADOUGOU (capital) 2.741 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.77 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 1,521,006
percentage: 38% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

371 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 73.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 80.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 55.5 years
male: 53.4 years
female: 57.6 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

5.79 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

16.2% (2010/11)

Health expenditures

5% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 75.8% of population
total: 82.3% of population
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 24.2% of population
total: 17.7% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 50.4% of population
rural: 6.7% of population
total: 19.7% of population
urban: 49.6% of population
rural: 93.3% of population
total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.83% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

95,300 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,600 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

5.2% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

26.2% (2010)

Education expenditures

3.9% of GDP (2015)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 36%
male: 43%
female: 29.3% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2013)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

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


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
local long form: none
local short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
etymology: name translates as "Land of the honest (incorruptible) men"

Government type

presidential republic


name: Ouagadougou
geographic coordinates: 12 22 N, 1 31 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

13 regions; Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Centre, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Centre-Ouest, Centre-Sud, Est, Hauts-Bassins, Nord, Plateau-Central, Sahel, Sud-Ouest


5 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Republic Day, 11 December (1958); note - commemorates the day that Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French Community


several previous; latest approved by referendum 2 June 1991, adopted 11 June 1991; amended several times, last in 2015 for setting a two-term limit for presidents; note - constitution temporarily suspended between late October and mid-November 2014 (2016)

Legal system

civil law based on the French model and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Burkina Faso
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Roch Marc Christian KABORE (since 29 December 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Paul Kaba THIEBA (since 6 January 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections/appointments: president elected by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds, if needed, for a 5-year term (eligible for a second); election last held on 29 November 2015 (next scheduled for November 2020); prime minister appointed by the president with consent of the National Assembly
election results: Roch Marc Christian KABORE elected president in one round; percent of vote - Roch Marc Christian KABORE 53.5%, Zephirin DIABRE 29.6%, Tahirou BARRY 3.1%. Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 2.8%, other 10.9%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (127 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 29 November 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MPP 55, UPC 33, CDP 18, Union for Rebirth/Sankarist Party 5, ADF/RDA 3, other 13

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (consists of NA judges); Council of State (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (consists of the council president and 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judge appointments mostly controlled by the president of Burkina Faso; judges have no term limits; Council of State judge appointment and tenure NA; Constitutional Council judges appointed by the president of Burkina Faso upon the proposal of the minister of justice and the president of the National Assembly; judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Appeals Court; High Court; first instance tribunals; district courts; specialized courts relating to issues of labor, children, and juveniles; village (customary) courts

Political parties and leaders

African Democratic Rally/Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF/RDA [Gilbert Noel OUEDRAOGO]
African People’s Movement or MAP [Victorien TOUGOUMA]
Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Achille TAPSOBA]
Le Faso Autrement [Ablasse OUEDRAOGO]
New Alliance of the Faso or NAFA [Rasmane OUEDRAOGO]
New Time for Democracy or NTD [Vincent DABILGOU]
Organization for Democracy and Work or ODT [Mahamoudou SAWADOGO]
Party for Development and Change or PDC [Saran SEREME]
Party for Democracy and Progress-Socialist Party or PDP-PS [Francois O. KABORE]
Party for Democracy and Socialism/Metba or PDS/Metba [Philippe OUEDRAOGO]
Party for National Renaissance or PAREN [Tahirou BARRY]
People's Movement for Progress or MPP [Roch March Christian KABORE]
Rally for Democracy and Socialism or RDS [Francois OUEDRAOGO]
Rally for the Development of Burkina or RDB [Celestin Saidou COMPAORE]
Rally of Ecologists of Burkina Faso or RDEB [Adama SERE]
Union for a New Burkina or UBN [Yacouba OUEDRAOGO]
Union for Progress and Change or UPC [Zephirin DIABRE]
Union for Rebirth - Sankarist Movement or UNIR-MS [Benewende Stanislas SANKARA]
Union for the Republic or UPR [Toussaint Abel COULIBALY]
Youth Alliance for the Republic and Independence or AJIR [Adama KANAZOE]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Balai Citoyen [Herve KAM]
Burkinabe General Confederation of Labor or CGTB [Bassolma BAZIE]
Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights or MBDHP [Chrysigone ZOUGMORE]
Burkinabe Society for Constitutional Law or SBDC [Abdoulaye SOMA]
Center for Democratic Governance or CGD [Thomas OUEDRAOGO]
Coalition for African Renaissance or CAR [Herve OUATTARA]
National Independent Union of Burkinabe Magistrates or SAMAB
National Union for Health Workers or SYNTSHA
National Union for Primary Education Teachers or SYNATEB
other: watchdog/political action groups throughout the country

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Seydou SINKA (since 1 November 2014)
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Andrew YOUNG (since September 2016)
embassy: Rue 15.873, Avenue Sembene Ousmane, Ouaga 2000, Secteur 15
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - US Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440
telephone: [226] 25-49-53-00
FAX: [226] 25-49-56-28

Flag description

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; red recalls the country's struggle for independence, green is for hope and abundance, and yellow represents the country's mineral wealth
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)

white stallion; national colors: red, yellow, green

National anthem

name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)
lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA
note: adopted 1974; also known as "Une Seule Nuit" (One Single Night); written by the country's president, an avid guitar player


GDP (purchasing power parity)

$32.99 billion (2016 est.)
$31.35 billion (2015 est.)
$30.14 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Economy - overview

Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. About 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base.

Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso’s key exports - gold has accounted for about three-quarters of the country’s total export revenues. Burkina Faso’s economic growth and revenue depends on global prices for the two commodities. The Burkinabe economy experie

Burkina Faso experienced a number of public protests over the high cost of living, corruption, and other socioeconomic issues in 2013, while the fall of the COMPAORE government in 2014 and failed coup in September 2015 disrupted economic activity and stra

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.01 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

5.2% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
4% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$1,800 (2016 est.)
$1,800 (2015 est.)
$1,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

8.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
7.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 45.1%
government consumption: 22%
investment in fixed capital: 28.7%
investment in inventories: 0.7%
exports of goods and services: 34.5%
imports of goods and services: -31% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 32.5%
industry: 21.8%
services: 45.7% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock


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

Industrial production growth rate

4.2% (2016 est.)

Labor force

7.692 million
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

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

Unemployment rate

77% (2004)

Population below poverty line

46.7% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

39.5 (2007)
48.2 (1994)


revenues: $2.442 billion
expenditures: $2.779 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

20.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.4% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate

NA% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$2.348 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.124 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$4.387 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$3.421 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.192 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$723 million (2016 est.)
-$706 million (2015 est.)


$2.771 billion (2016 est.)
$2.515 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

gold, cotton, livestock

Exports - partners

Switzerland 53.3%, India 14.5% (2015)


$2.872 billion (2016 est.)
$2.863 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports - partners

Cote dIvoire 23.1%, France 11.1%, Togo 7.5%, China 4.8%, Ghana 4.6% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$333.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$259.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$3.092 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.669 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
605.7 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 14,100,000
electrification - total population: 17%
electrification - urban areas: 56%
electrification - rural areas: 1% (2013)

Electricity - production

700 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

1.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

600 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

300,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

86.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

13.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

22,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

20,890 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.4 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 75,075
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 14.447 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 76 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: system includes microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, fostered by multiple providers, is increasing steadily from a low base
international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

2 TV stations - 1 state-owned and 1 privately owned; state-owned radio runs a national and regional network; substantial number of privately owned radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters available in Ouagadougou (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 2.156 million
percent of population: 11.4% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 122,589
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 55,868 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

XT (2016)


23 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 21
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 5 (2013)


total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2014)


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


Military branches

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

Military service age and obligation

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

Military expenditures

1.39% of GDP (2012)
1.34% of GDP (2011)
1.39% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

adding to illicit cross-border activities, Burkina Faso has issues concerning unresolved boundary alignments with its neighbors; demarcation is currently underway with Mali; the dispute with Niger was referred to the ICJ in 2010, and a dispute over several villages with Benin persists; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso around the town of Koualou

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 32,017 (Mali) (2016)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Burkinabe children are forced to work as farm hands, gold panners and washers, street vendors, domestic servants, and beggars or in the commercial sex trade, with some transported to nearby countries; to a lesser extent, Burkinabe women are recruited for legitimate jobs in the Middle East or Europe and subsequently forced into prostitution; women from other West African countries are also lured to Burkina Faso for work and subjected to forced prostitution, forced labor in restaurants, or domestic servitude
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Burkina Faso does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; law enforcement efforts decreased in 2014, with a significant decline in trafficking prosecutions (none for forced begging involving Koranic school teachers – a prevalent form of trafficking) and no convictions, a 2014 law criminalizing the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography is undermined by a provision allowing offenders to pay a fine in lieu of serving prison time proportionate to the crime; the government sustained efforts to identify and protect a large number of child victims, relying on support from NGOs and international organizations; nationwide awareness-raising activities were sustained, but little was done to stop forced begging (2015)