About Burkina Faso


A Little Bit of History
   Most of the area known today as Burkina Faso was once dominated by the Mossi people, who established their empire round 1500. France imposed its rule over the people of Burkina Faso in 1897, but it wasn't until 1947 that the French colony of the Upper Volta was created. Full independence from the French came on August 5, 1960.


A Little Bit of Economy

   Burkina Faso has only a few natural resources, and 90 percent (!) of its population engages mainly in subsistence agriculture (producing peanuts, sesame, cotton, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, and livestock). Some of the people migrate annually to neighboring coastal countries, in search of unskilled employment.
   Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the
world (with a per capita gross domestic product of $1,213). It ranks 176 out of 177 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (2008).
     A Little Bit of Culture

     Burkina Faso is composed of a mix of people representing over 60 different groups. The major groups include the Mossi, Fulani, Mande, Lobi-Dagari, Bobo, and Senufo. Islam, Christianity and Animism are all widely practiced. The joke goes that Burkina Faso is 50 percent Muslim, 50 percent Christian and 100 percent Animist. (Meaning that indigenous beliefs continue to play a major role in the lives of many Burkinabé regardless of their religious orientation.) The actual number of proclaimed Muslims is at about 50 percent, while the number of Christians is at around 20 percent (with a large Catholic majority).

A Little Bit of Environment

     Burkina Faso is a mostly flat, landlocked country that sits on the edge of the Sahel. It is slightly larger than Colorado. It is bordered on the north by Mali and Niger and on the south by Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. While the north is mainly desert, the southern and central regions are forested. There are two distinct seasons in Burkina Faso: the rainy season and the dry season.





A Little Bit More
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By Sarah Erdman