What you never knew about Burkina Faso

This country was formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta before it was renamed Burkina Faso on the 4th August 1984 by the then-president Captain Thomas Sankara.

They gained independence from France on 5th August, 1960. Maurice Yameogo was the first president of Upper Volta.

The Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11th December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French community.

READ ALSO: What you never knew about Botswana

In 1983 Capt. Thomas Sankara seized power but was ousted by Blaise Campaore, who went on to rule for 27 years before being ousted in a popular uprising in 2014. Burkina Faso is a francophone country; French is therefore the official language of government and business.

Citizens of Burkina Faso are called the Burkinabe. Mr. Roch Marc Kaboré is the current president of the country; winning the November 2015 presidential elections.


Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometres in size (making it the 75th largest country in the world). 

Burkina Faso is bordered by Mali to the North; Niger to the East; Benin to the Southeast; Togo and Ghana to the South; and Ivory Coast to the Southwest. 

Its capital is Ouagadougou with a population of around 2.8 million as at 2015. The country’s population is estimated around 18.11 million (2015 World Bank data).

The current population growth rate is estimated at 3.01%. Burkina Faso is a member of the African Union, ECOWAS and The United Nations, among others. The country is divided into 13 administrative regions.


Burkina Faso is a low income country with a current GDP of around $12.01 billion. GDP growth rate of 4% was recorded in 2014 and 2015. Gold and Cotton constitute more than 70% of the country’s export. 

Burkina Faso is Africa’s largest producer of cotton; it is of no surprise that the local farmers call it “white gold”.

Agriculture, therefore, represents about 32.5% of its gross domestic product and occupies about 80% of the working population. Industry and services constitute about 21.8% and 45.7% respectively.

Livestock, Sorghum, millet, maize, peanuts, rice and cotton are the common agricultural produce of the country. GDP (purchasing power parity) for 2016 was estimated at $32.99 billion. GDP (nominal) is estimated at $11.9 billion.

CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) Franc is their official currency. The inflation rate (consumer prices) is estimated at 1.4% as of 2016. Central bank discount rate stands at 4.50%


Infant Mortality stands at 73.8 deaths per 1000 live births in 2015. Maternal mortality stands at 371 deaths per 100,000 live births. Life expectancy is 55 years for men and 57 years for women.

Only about a third of the population is literate. Birth rate stands at 41.6 / 1,000 population. 

Death rate is 11.5 per 1,000 population. 46.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.


More than 65% of the population is under the age of 25, and the population is growing at 3% annually.

Women in Burkina Faso have an average of 6 children. As a result, it is of no surprise that average age at first birth for mothers in Burkina Faso is 19.4 years. 2.2 million of the population are internet users.





READ ALSO: What you never knew about Angola


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