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The land of the upright people

The terms “Burkina” and “Faso” come from the two main native languages and together they mean “The land of the upright people”.

Burkina Faso lies in West Africa below the arc of Niger west of Sudan. To the northwest lies Mali and in the east Burkina Faso borders Niger, to the south, Côte d‘Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

The country is slightly smaller than Germany, primarily a country of farmers and herdsmen it has always been one of the poorest countries in the world. The rainy season is from June until October; for the rest of the year the climate is mainly dry. The harmattan, a hot desert wind blows relentlessly bringing dust in a southerly direction.

Facts about Burkina Faso

More than 80% of the working population is employed in the primary sector, agriculture, animal farming, fishing and is thus directly dependent on climatic conditions. The disadvantage of being a land-locked country with high transport costs, distance from markets, lack of affordable energy resources, few natural resources and a low level of education, adversely affects the economic development of the country.

The towns and cities are expanding rapidly, the capital Ouagadougou can barely cope with the influx of a mainly young rural population. The city’s population of roughly 2 million inhabitants is growing by 10% each year.

  • Area of the country: 274,000 square kilometres
  • Capital: Ouagadougou (more than 2 million inhabitants)
  • Official language: French
  • Total population: 17.6 million inhabitants
  • Population growth rate 2.91 % in 2014
  • 45 % of the total population is less than 14 years old
  • 24 % of 15-19 year-old girls have children or are pregnant
  • Child mortality: one in ten children younger than 5 years dies prematurely
  • Malnourishment: 25% of children younger than 5 years are underweight
  • Illiteracy: more than 70% of the population is illiterate