|About Burkina Faso|
Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, Burkina Faso was renamed on August 4, 1984, by President Thomas Sankara to mean "the land of upright people" in Moré and Dioula, the major native languages of the country.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in West Africa surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the south east, Togo and Ghana to the south and Cote d’Ivoire to the south west.
Burkina Faso’s capital is Ouagadougou. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic. The president is Blaise Compaoré.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $580. About 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture, with only a small fraction directly involved in industry and services. Drought, poor soil, lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure, a low literacy rate, and an economy vulnerable to external shocks are all longstanding problems. The export economy also remains subject to fluctuations in world prices.
Burkina remains committed to the structural adjustment program it launched in 1991, and has been one of the first beneficiaries of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt-relief and poverty reduction programs for heavily indebted poor countries. Real GDP growth, which has historically remained steady, reached 7.9% for 2010, compared with 3.2% in 2009.
Burkina Faso has a stable and democratic government. As per the Economic Freedom Index, 2009, the political risk has been decreasing and World Bank’s Doing Business Rank for 2012 has moved up by one (1) for Burkina Faso. There has been a significant change in the ease of boing business from what it was five years ago.
Burkina is attempting to improve the economy by developing its mineral resources, particularly gold, improving its infrastructure, making its agricultural and livestock sectors more productive and competitive, and stabilizing the supplies and prices of food grains.
At a glance
French (official); More; Gourma; Fulfulde; Dioula; Tamasheq
August 5, 1960
274,200 km2; terrain (savanna, brushy plains & scattered hills)
Sahelian; pronounced wet & dry seasons
Per capita GDP (2009):
Manganese, gold, limestone, marble, phosphate, zinc, uranium*
Agriculture (34% of 2009 GDP):
Cotton, millet, sorghum, rice, livestock, peanuts, shea nuts, maize*
Industry (26.5% of GDP):
Mining, agricultural processing plants, brewing and bottling, light industry*
Main exports (2009):
Gold ($380.8 million); cotton ($210.3 million)*
*Economist Intelligence Unit data