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Pic du Sindou, Banfora Escarpment near Bobo-Dioulasso
Pic du Sindou rock formations, Banfora Escarpment near Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso.
Image: Eric Montfort
Flag of Burkina Faso
Flag of Burkina Faso
Location map of Burkina Faso. Where in Africa is Burkina Faso?
Location map of Burkina Faso

A virtual guide to Burkina Faso, the 'land of the upright/honest people'. Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta; French: Haute Volta) is a landlocked country located in the middle of West Africa's "hump." The northern part lies geographically in the Sahel zone, the transition zone between the Sahara Desert in north and the tropical savanna in south. Burkina's landscape offers one major scenario, flat, with some rocky cliffs in Centre-Nord region and at the Banfora Escarpment arround Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second largest city.

The country sits on an extensive plateau, it is bordered by Mali in north and north west, by Niger in north east, by Benin in south east and by Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo in south. Burkina covers an area of 274,222 km², this is about three times the size of Austria, or slightly larger than the U.S. state of Colorado.

Burkina Faso has a population of 19 million (in 2016); capital and largest city is Ouagadougou
. Spoken languages are French (official), and several native languages of the Niger–Congo family like Mossi, Fulani and Dioula, spoken by about 90% of the Burkinabe population.

Burkina Faso

Country Profile


Burkina Faso achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.

Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.

In 2014 protests and mass uprising in Burkina led to the overthrow of long-serving ruler Blaise Compaore. Blaise Compaore has managed to run down one of the poorest countries on the planet for 27 years.

Related countries: France

Official Name:
Burkina Faso
short form: Burkina
formerly Upper Volta

ISO Country Code: bf

Local Time = UTC (+-0; no UTC/GMT offset)
Actual Time: Fri-June-14  17:10

Country Calling Code: +226

Capital City: Ouagadougou (pop.1 million)

Other Cities: Bobo-Dioulasso (450,000), Koudougou (90,000), Banfora, Dori, Fada N'Gourma, Ouahigouy.

Type: Parliamentary Republic
Independence: 5 August 1960 (from France).
Constitution: 11 June 1991 formally adopted; amended April 2000.

Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana.
Area: 274,200 km² (106,000 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Savanna; brushy plains and scattered hills.

Climate: Sahelian; pronounced wet and dry seasons.

Nationality: Burkinabe (accent on last e).
Population: 19 million (2016)
Ethnic groups: 63 ethnic groups among which are Mossi (almost half of the total population), Bobo, Mande, Lobi, Fulani, Gourounsi, and Sénoufo.
Religions: Muslim 55%, Christian 25%, Traditional beliefs 20%.
Languages: French, Mooré, Dioula, Fulfuldé, others.
Literacy: 30%

Natural resources: Manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt.

Agriculture products: Cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock

Industries: Cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold.

Exports - commodities: gold, cotton, livestock

Exports partners: Switzerland 53.3%, India 14.5% (2015)

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)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)
Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
The Presidential Palace of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.
Image: Sputniktilt

Official Sites of Burkina Faso

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Government of Burkina Faso
Official website of the Government of Burkina Faso (in French)

Ministère des Affaires Etrangères
Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic Missions:
Embassy of Burkina Faso to the US
Official website of the embassy, located at Washington D. C.
Ambassade du Burkina Faso en Belgique
Burkina's embassy at Belgium, provides country and travel information.
Ambassade du Burkina à Paris
Burkina's embassy in France.

Institut National de la Statistique et de la Demographie (INSD)
Statistical and other information by National Institute of Statistic and Demographics.


profile Map of Burkina Faso
Political map of Burkina Faso showing Burkina's provinces, cities and towns.
profile Administrative Map of Burkina Faso
Map of the 45 administrative provinces of Burkina Faso.

Google Earth Google Earth Burkina Faso
Searchable map/satellite view of Burkina Faso.
Google Earth Google Earth Ouagadougou
Searchable map/satellite view of Burkina Faso's capital city.

African Continent:
Map of Africa
Political Map of Africa.
Relief Map of Africa
Map of West Africa
Political Map of West Africa.


Agence d'Information du Burkina
Burkina press agency (in French)

Burkina news (in French)
Press review (in French).
L'Observateur Paalga
Burkina daily (in French)
Le Pays
Burkina Faso daily news (in French).
Sidwaya Quotidien
Daily news from Burkina Faso (in French).

RTB :: Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina
National TV station (in French)

Signal from the 'land of upright people'
An article by Claus Stäcker: head of Deutsche Welle's Africa department.

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Tiebele village of the Kassena people
Painted houses at Tiébélé village of the Kassena people in Burkina Faso. An African town where every building is a canvas,
Image: Alexander Leisser

Arts & Culture

Ministère des Arts et de la Culture
Ministry of Art and Culture of Burkina Faso.

Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou
Next Panafrican Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) will be held 2007.

Museum of Manéga
Manega Bendrologie Museum - mystics and cultures of Sahelian nations.

Musée des civilisations du sud-ouest
Museum devoted to the history, arts and the traditions of the people of south-west: Gan and Lobi.

Ethnic groups:
Mossi (48%, the people in central Burkina Faso, largest ethnic group)
Fulani (10%, Fula people or Wolof, also Pël (Poel), are one of the largest ethnolinguistic groups in Africa)
Lobi (7%), the Lobi people originated from what is today Ghana, they migrated into southern Burkina Faso and later into Côte d'Ivoire.
Bobo (7%), Bobo people, an ethnic group living in the area of Bobo-Dioulasso in central west Burkina.
Mandé (7%), Mandé people.
Kassena, an ethnic group inhabiting the Kingdom of Dagbon in northern Ghana, and southern Burkina Faso, they are part of the Gurunsi people.
Songhay pottery on a market in Gorom-Gorom, Burkina Faso
Songhay pottery on a market in Gorom-Gorom, Oudalan Province, northern Burkina.
Image: Hugues

Business & Economy

Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
Central Bank of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. These countries comprise the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (in French), le portail de la Zone Franc CFA
Information about business and investment in the African countries within the monetary system of the Franc Zone - CFA. (in French)

Chambre de Commerce, d'Industrie du Burkina Faso
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Salon International de l'Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO)
Annual International Arts and crafts fair in Ouagadougou.

___ Transportation
Air Burkina
The national airline based in Ouagadougou operating scheduled services to one domestic destination, Bobo-Dioulasso, and regional destinations in, Benin (Cotonou), Côte d'Ivoire (Abidjan; Ivory Coast), Ghana (Accra), Mali (Bamako), Niger (Niamey), Senegal (Dakar) and Togo (Lomé) .
White Volta river, Burkina Faso
Evening atmosphere at the White Volta.
Image: Sean Moran

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Burkina Faso - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou (capital and center of the Mossi Empire), Moro-Naba Ceremony (weekly Mossi show with a horse and traditional beer, and kola nut drinks), National Museum Ouagadougou (masks, ancestral statues and traditional costumes), Bobo Dioulasso (city with small-town Sahelian charm), Karfiguéla Falls at Komoé river, Tiébélé (Sahelian culture, stylish painted earthen huts),
Mare aux Hippopotames (Hippo Lake, a biosphere reserve with a lake and a national park in the floodplain of the Volta Noire River).

Travel and tourism information on Burkina Faso (in French).
Tourism, Travel, & Information Guide to Burkina Faso.

Le Pays Lobi
Geography, history, and society of the Lobi (in French).
Le Pays Kassena
Geography, history, and society of the Kassena people (in French).
Le Pays Sénoufo
Geography, history, and society of the Sénoufo nation (in French).

Commune de Ouagadougou
Official website of the capital city.

ABC Burkina
Discover the rural world of Burkina Faso.
Photogallery of the Dogon people.

Great Mosque in Bani, Bani Department
The Great Mosque, a mudbrick building in Bani, the Capital of Bani Department.
Image: Guillaume Colin & Pauline Penot
Turka Habitat
Turka Habitat -

Burkina Faso, Mosquee Teoule
Mosque of Téoule -
Wayalghin Primary School in Ouagadougou
Wayalghin Primary School in Ouagadougou.
Image: Global Partnership for Education - GPE


Institute de recherche pour le développement Burkina Faso
French science and technology research institute for research, consultancy and training.
Université de Ouagadougou
Official website of Ouagadougou University (in French)

Environment & Nature

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Biodiversity Convention related information about Burkina Faso.
Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement au Burkina Faso
United Nations Development Program for Burkina Faso.


L'Histoire du Burkina Faso avant l’indépendance
L'Histoire du Burkina Faso après l’indépendance
History of Burkina Faso before and after independence (in French)

Burkina Faso profile - Timeline
Burkina Faso historical timeline by BBC, A chronology of key events.
History of Burkina Faso
Burkina's history and timeline by Wikipedia.

Sources and additional Information on Burkina Faso

Amnesty International: Burkina Faso

BBC Country Profile: Burkina Faso

FAO: Burkina Faso

GlobalEDGE: Burkina Faso

The Heritage Foundation: Burkina Faso

Human Rights Watch: Burkina Faso

OEC: Burkina Faso

Reporters Without Borders: Burkina Faso

Wikipedia: Burkina Faso

The World Factbook -- Burkina Faso
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Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Porto-Novo, Praia, Sao Tome City, Yamoussoukro

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Mali | Mauritania | Niger | Nigeria | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Togo