Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso
/beuhr kee"neuh fah"soh/
a republic in W Africa: formerly part of French West Africa. 10,891,159; 106,111 sq. mi. (274,827 sq. km). Cap.: Ouagadougou. Formerly, Upper Volta.

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Burkina Faso

Introduction Burkina Faso -
Background: Independence from France came to Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) in 1960. Governmental instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Several hundred thousand farm workers migrate south every year to Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. Geography Burkina Faso
Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana
Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 274,200 sq km water: 400 sq km land: 273,800 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Colorado
Land boundaries: total: 3,193 km border countries: Benin 306 km, Cote d'Ivoire 584 km, Ghana 549 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain: mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m
Natural resources: manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates, zinc, silver
Land use: arable land: 12.43% permanent crops: 0.18% other: 87.39% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts Environment - current issues: recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas People Burkina Faso -
Population: 12,603,185 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 47.3% (male 3,007,675; female 2,960,697) 15-64 years: 49.8% (male 3,000,411; female 3,271,594) 65 years and over: 2.9% (male 151,976; female 210,832) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.64% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 44.34 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 17.07 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/ female total population: 0.96 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 105.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 46.11 years female: 46.78 years (2002 est.) male: 45.45 years
Total fertility rate: 6.26 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 6.44% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 350,000 (1999 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 43,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural) adjective: Burkinabe
Ethnic groups: Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
Religions: indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%
Languages: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 36% (2001) male: NA% female: NA% Government Burkina Faso -
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Burkina Faso former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
Government type: parliamentary republic
Capital: Ouagadougou Administrative divisions: 30 provinces; Bam, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemde, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houe, Kadiogo, Kenedougou, Komoe, Kossi, Kouritenga, Mouhoun, Namentenga, Naouri, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Yatenga, Zoundweogo note: a new electoral code was approved by the National Assembly in January 1997; the number of administrative provinces was increased from 30 to 45 (Bale, Bam, Banwa, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemde, Comoe, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houet, Ioba, Kadiogo, Kenedougou, Komandjari, Kompienga, Kossi, Koupelogo, Kouritenga, Kourweogo, Leraba, Loroum, Mouhoun, Nahouri, Namentenga, Nayala, Naumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Samentenga, Sanguie, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro, Zondomo, Zoundweogo), however, this change has not yet been confirmed by the US Board on Geographic Names
Independence: 5 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday: Republic Day, 11 December (1958)
Constitution: 2 June 1991 approved by referendum; 11 June 1991 formally adopted
Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law
Suffrage: universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987) head of government: Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga YONLI (since 6 November 2000) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president with 87.5% percent of the vote note: President COMPAORE faces an increasingly well-coordinated opposition; recent charges against a former member of his Presidential Guard in the 1998 assassination of a newspaper editor signify an attempt to defuse chronic areas of dissatisfaction elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 15 November 1998 (next to be held NA 2005); in April 2000, the constitution was amended reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005, and allowing the president to be reelected only once; it is unclear whether this amendment will be applied retroactively or not; prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (111 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDP 57, RDA-ADF 17, PDP/PS 10, CFD 5, PAI 5, others 17 elections: National Assembly election last held 5 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Appeals Court Political parties and leaders: African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or RDA- ADF [Herman YAMEOGO]; Confederation for Federation and Democracy or CFD [Amadou Diemdioda DICKO]; Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Roch Marc-Christian KABORE]; Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Noyabtigungu Congo KABORE]; Party for African Independence or PAI [Philippe OUEDRAOGO]; Party for Democracy and Progress or PDP [Joseph KI-ZERBO]; Union of Greens for the Development of Burkina Faso or UVDB [Ram OVEDRAGO] Political pressure groups and Burkinabe General Confederation of
leaders: Labor or CGTB; Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights or MBDHP; Group of 14 February; National Confederation of Burkinabe Workers or CNTB; National Organization of Free Unions or ONSL; watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS,
participation: Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Tertius ZONGO chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882 telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Jimmy
US: J. KOLKER embassy: 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Ouagadougou mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01 telephone: [226] 306723 FAX: [226] 303890
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five- pointed star in the center; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia Economy Burkina Faso
Economy - overview: One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has a high population density, few natural resources, and a fragile soil. About 90% of the population is engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to variations in rainfall. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the African franc currency devaluation in January 1994 the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies, and exports and economic growth have increased. Maintenance of macroeconomic progress depends on continued low inflation, reduction in the trade deficit, and reforms designed to encourage private investment.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.8 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,040 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 31% industry: 28% services: 41% (2000) Population below poverty line: 45% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2.2%
percentage share: highest 10%: 39.5% (1994) Distribution of family income - Gini 48.2 (1994)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 5 million (1999) note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 90% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $316 million expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001)
Industries: cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold Industrial production growth rate: 14% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 282 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 70.92% hydro: 29.08% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 262.26 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, cotton, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock
Exports: $265 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: cotton, animal products, gold
Exports - partners: Venezuela 14.7%, Benelux 12.2%, Italy 9.6%, France 7.0% (2000)
Imports: $580 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: capital goods, food products, petroleum
Imports - partners: Cote d'Ivoire 25.1%, Venezuela 23.4%, France 17.0% (2000)
Debt - external: $1.5 billion (1999) Economic aid - recipient: $484.1 million (1995)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code: XOF
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XOF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF per euro
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Burkina Faso - Telephones - main lines in use: 53,200 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 25,200 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: all services only fair domestic: microwave radio relay, open wire, and radiotelephone communication stations international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 17, shortwave 3 (2002)
Radios: 394,020 (2000) Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
Televisions: 131,340 (2002)
Internet country code: .bf Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 4 (2001)
Internet users: 10,000 (2001) Transportation Burkina Faso -
Railways: total: 622 km (517 km from Ouagadougou to the Cote d'Ivoire border and 105 km from Ouagadougou to Kaya) narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge (1995 est.)
Highways: total: 12,506 km paved: 2,001 km unpaved: 10,505 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: none
Airports: 33 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 31 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 12 under 914 m: 16 (2001) Military Burkina Faso -
Military branches: Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police, People's Militia Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,688,072 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 1,379,010 (2002
service: est.) Military expenditures - dollar $40.1 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1.4% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Burkina Faso -
Disputes - international: two villages are in dispute with Benin

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Country, West Africa.

A landlocked country, it lies south of the Sahara Desert. Area: 105,869 sq mi (274,201 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 12,630,000. Capital: Ouagadougou. Its ethnic groups are the Mossi, Hausa, Fulani, Mande, Bobo, and Senufo. Languages: French (official), Mossi, Dyula, and Fula. Religions: About one-third practice traditional religions; half of the population are Muslim; the remainder are Christian. Currency: CFA franc. Burkina Faso consists of an extensive plateau characterized by a savanna, grassy in the north and sparsely forested in the south. The plateau is notched by the valleys of the Mouhoun (Black Volta), Nazion (Red Volta), and Nakanbe rivers, which flow south into Ghana. The economy is largely agricultural. Burkina Faso is a republic with one advisory body and one legislative body; its chief of state is the president and its head of government the prime minister. Probably in the 14th century, the Mossi and Gurma peoples established themselves in eastern and central areas. The Mossi kingdoms of Yatenga and Ouagadougou existed into the early 20th century. A French protectorate was established over the region (1895–97), and its southern boundary was demarcated through an Anglo-French agreement. It was part of the Upper Senegal–Niger (see Mali) colony, then became a separate colony in 1919. It was constituted an overseas territory within the French Union in 1947, became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958, and achieved total independence in 1960. Since then it has been ruled primarily by the military and has experienced several coups; following one in 1984, the country received its present name. A new constitution, adopted in 1991, restored multiparty rule; elected government returned in the 1990s. Economic problems plagued the country at the beginning of the 21st century.

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▪ 2009

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 14,391,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tertius Zongo

      In late February 2008 popular discontent over rapidly increasing food prices erupted into serious riots in the Burkina Faso capital and other cities. Security forces arrested at least 180 people for organizing the protests. The government called for calm, blaming the situation on the global escalation of oil prices. Import taxes on basic necessities were suspended on February 27, and on March 9 the government announced that food prices were to be cut by 5–15%. Despite these actions, new protests against hyperinflation took place later in March.

      Cabinet ministers from Burkina Faso and Benin met on March 7 to discuss a plan to reduce tensions in a 68-sq-km (26-sq-mi) border area claimed by both countries. They agreed to activate a joint border commission to ensure that neither country undertook any overt display of sovereignty in the disputed region, such as building police stations or displaying flags.

      In two southwestern provinces in late May and early June, violent clashes occurred when nomads allowed their cattle to graze on the lands of farmers. At least 15 people were killed in the confrontations.

      Following an outbreak of meningitis in southern Burkina, the government on February 21 reached agreement with Côte d'Ivoire to coordinate a cross-border vaccination campaign. After a polio case was confirmed in Niger, the World Health Organization began a mass vaccination program on June 13 to cover the border areas of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. On July 11, Muslim leaders agreed to participate in a program promoting family planning.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2008

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 14,326,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Paramanga Ernest Yonli and, from June 4, Tertius Zongo

 Burkina Faso Pres. Blaise Compaoré expanded his role in international affairs with his election in 2007 as head of both the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The summit meetings of both organizations were held in Ouagadougou on January 19–20. In March Compaoré hosted a meeting between Côte d'Ivoire Pres. Laurent Gbagbo and Ivoirian rebel leader Guillaume Soro; the talks resulted in a new peace agreement designed to end the four-year-old civil war in that country.

      In the May 6 elections, the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress won a substantial majority in the National Assembly, taking 73 of the 111 seats. Former ambassador Tertius Zongo was named prime minister on June 4.

      Results of the December 2006 census published in April showed a total population of 13,730,258, an increase of more than 3.4 million people in 10 years. Despite years of internationally funded aid programs, Burkina Faso remained among the poorest countries in the world, with nearly half the population living on less than $1 daily. A deadly meningitis epidemic, low cotton prices, and severe summer flooding throughout the country added to Burkina Faso's economic woes.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2007

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 13,558,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Paramanga Ernest Yonli

      Citing lack of evidence, on July 19, 2006, prosecutors in Burkina Faso dropped all charges against Marcel Kafando, former head of the Presidential Guard, for the 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo. Human rights groups and opposition parties reacted with outrage, and the Zongo family lawyer immediately filed an appeal, but on August 16 a higher court threw out the appeal. The politically charged murder had caused widespread unrest in the country for years.

      Pres. Blaise Compaoré's Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) took the lion's share of the vote in the April 23 municipal elections. With a turnout just short of 50%, the CDP won 12,854 of the 17,786 seats contested.

  Bird flu, first confirmed in Burkina Faso on April 3, spread rapidly as the government struggled to fund its $10 million eradication program. Devastating floods in August in the north destroyed thousands of homes and entire crops. Coming only two years after a major locust invasion, the floods were expected to create severe food shortages in an already fragile economy. At least 50 people were presumed dead following a landslide at an officially closed gold mine in Poura, 120 km (75 mi) west of the capital. Despite the presence of security forces and frequent safety warnings, local residents had continued to frequent the mine.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2006

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 13,575,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga Yonli

 Pres. Blaise Compaoré—in power in Burkina Faso since the 1987 violent coup and twice elected (1991 and 1998) president—brushed aside objections to his plan to seek a third term in the Nov. 13, 2005, presidential elections. Though opposition parties claimed that Compaoré was not eligible to run, citing the passage of a constitutional amendment in April 2000 that reduced a president's term to five years and barred a second term, Compaoré's ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress insisted that the law could not be applied retroactively.

      The food crisis in neighbouring Niger threatened to spill over into Burkina Faso as prices of basic commodities soared. With the region still suffering from the effects of the 2004 drought and locust invasion, the government distributed grain at prices 75% lower than those prevailing in the market. At least 500,000 Burkinabes in the north were short of food, and they began to move south. A good 2005 harvest was expected to ease the situation.

      The World Bank approved grants of $60 million on May 3 as part of its poverty-reduction program and a further grant of $5 million on May 5 for Burkina Faso's anti- AIDS initiative. The government planned to double the number of those receiving antiretroviral treatment to 10,000 by the end of the year. On June 15 the Group of Eight canceled the country's outstanding debts of $18 million. The drastic fall in world cotton prices had severely shaken the economy.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2005

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 13,575,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga Yonli

      Preparations for the 2005 presidential elections got off to an early start after a cabinet minister revealed in January 2004 that Pres. Blaise Compaoré would be a candidate. On April 27 the National Assembly, dominated by the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress Party, adopted a new electoral code that opposition parties claimed would make it more difficult for small parties to contest legislative and municipal elections. At a mass meeting in Ouagadougou on May 15, 14 parties comprising almost a quarter of the total number of deputies, declared themselves united in their opposition to Compaoré's reelection.

      Tensions with neighbouring states continued. In July the government warned Côte d'Ivoire that it would fire on any of its military aircraft that flew into Burkina's airspace. On August 27 the government of Mauritania accused Burkina and Libya of having supported an abortive army coup earlier that month.

      Despite some success in cloud seeding, rainfall was below average during the year. On May 17 Japan announced it would donate €2 million (about $2.4 million) to enable Burkina to purchase sufficient cereal stocks for domestic consumption. The government began an emergency distribution of insecticides as the first swarms of locusts appeared in the north of the country during the second week of August.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2004

Area:
267,950 sq km (103,456 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 13,228,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga Yonli

      An estimated 350,000 Burkinabes fled the civil war in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire during 2003, escaping the rising tide of violence and xenophobia directed against them. Burkina Faso's economy, already battered by the ripple effect of the conflict, received some aid from international donors to assist in the resettlement of the refugees. The virtual cessation of trade until the border was reopened in September severely damaged the economy, particularly in the livestock and transport sectors. Despite these difficulties, the International Monetary Fund predicted that the country's gross domestic product would achieve a modest growth in 2003 of 2.6%.

      In April donors agreed to provide $123 million to fund the first phase of Burkina Faso's National Health Development Plan, which was designed to modernize the health sector and fight the spread of endemic disease. Although a meningitis epidemic took more than 900 lives in 2003 and malaria remained the major cause of death in the country, with 5,000 dying annually, the plan particularly focused on the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS.

      Conservation measures introduced on May 22 to deal with a severe water shortage in Ouagadougou were eased following unusually heavy summer rainfall. Burkina Faso became the first West African country to test genetically modified cotton. The government approved the project on the grounds that it would make Burkina Faso's major export crop more competitive on world markets.

      In October at least 16 people were arrested in connection with an alleged military coup conspiracy against Pres. Blaise Compaoré. Those being detained at year's end included a political opposition leader.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2003

Area:
274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 12,603,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga Yonli

      In Burkina Faso's parliamentary elections, held on May 5, 2002, Pres. Blaise Compaoré's Congress for Democracy and Progress barely maintained its majority, winning 57 of 111 seats—44 fewer than in the previous parliament. The Alliance for Democracy and Federation/African Democratic Rally became the major opposition party after securing 17 seats; the remaining seats were distributed among 11 other parties.

      In February human rights campaigners accused the government of carrying out extrajudicial killings in its campaign against a recent upsurge of armed robberies. Despite the government's swift denial of the allegations, Amnesty International called for an official investigation. On March 4 Burkina Faso announced that it would allocate $7.75 million to compensate families and victims of past human rights abuses.

      In 2001 cotton had constituted some 60% of Burkina Faso's total exports and had been a major factor behind the achievement of a 5.7% growth in gross domestic product. In 2002, however, despite a 36% increase in production, cotton growers faced a crisis as world prices continued to drop. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank granted Burkina Faso more than $1 billion in debt relief as well as substantial amounts of development aid. In April and again in July, the capital was hit by a wave of strikes as thousands of workers demonstrated against low wages and plans for continued privatization.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2002

Area:
274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 12,272,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ernest Paramanga Yonli

      Tensions between Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire continued throughout 2001 as thousands of Burkinabe citizens returned home, complaining of persistent harassment at the hands of Ivorian officials. On July 4, at a meeting brokered by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, Pres. Blaise Compaoré and his Ivorian counterpart, Laurent Gbagbo, agreed to take steps to restore good relations between the two nations. Nonetheless, in August Côte d'Ivoire decided to send three extra battalions to safeguard its frontiers, and on September 6 Compaoré responded by deploying additional troops along Burkina's southern border.

      On February 5 the government finally acted to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the death in 1998 of journalist Norbert Zongo when the former chief of the Presidential Guard was charged with the murder.

      A severe meningitis epidemic struck the country, with over 7,000 cases reported by the beginning of April. There remained a crippling shortage of vaccine. In June international donors pledged $85 million for a five-year campaign against the spread of AIDS; more than 7% of Burkinabe adults were considered HIV-positive. In August grants for poverty alleviation totaling $45 million were approved by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A $70 million water project for Ouagadougou was to be undertaken with further World Bank funding.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2001

Area:
274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 11,946,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo and, from November 7, Ernest Paramanga Yonli

      Repercussions from the December 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo continued to dominate the political landscape in Burkina Faso in 2000. Zongo had been investigating the January 1998 murder of David Ouédraogo in connection with the alleged theft of about CFAF 20 million (about $26,900) from the home of Pres. Blaise Compaoré's brother, François. On August 19 three of the five soldiers on trial for Ouédraogo's murder were convicted.

      In his New Year's Eve message to the nation, President Compaoré promised to institute electoral reforms. Protests continued, however, and in early June police used tear gas to disperse a student demonstration at the University of Ouagadougou, which was closed temporarily by the government in July before being shuttered indefinitely in October. Secondary schoolteachers, along with 1,800 students, boycotted the annual baccalaureate exams in July. Additional demands by students for an increase in grants and living allowances led to a delay in the opening of the academic year, and on September 6 university students declared a strike.

      In municipal elections held on September 24, 25 parties contested seats, and the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress won 802 of the 1,100 seats available. The opposition Alliance for Democracy and Federation/African Democratic Rally secured 133 and the Union for Democracy and Federation 49. In an effort to help President Compaoré accelerate political and social reforms, the government of Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo resigned on November 6. The following day Compaoré appointed Ernest Paramanga Yonli the new prime minister.

      The World Bank announced in July that Burkina Faso, the third poorest nation in the world, would receive $700 million for debt relief.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2000

Area:
274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 11,576,000
Capital:
Ouagadougou
Chief of state:
President Blaise Compaoré
Head of government:
Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo

      Months of political and social unrest erupted in Burkina Faso after the bodies of journalist Norbert Zongo and three companions were found in a burned-out car in December 1998. Zongo, a prominent government critic, had been investigating the death in detention in 1997 of the driver of François Compaoré, brother of the president. In April, 5,000 protesters marched through Ouagadougou demanding a full inquiry into the incident. Reporting in May, an independent commission declared that the murders had been politically motivated and named six members of the Presidential Guard as possible culprits. Following student demonstrations, schools and universities were ordered closed in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. On May 21 Pres. Blaise Compaoré pledged a full investigation into the Zongo affair, and a month later three presidential guards were arrested. A general strike was called on June 29, and in July the minister of justice appointed new judges and prosecutors in the murder cases.

      Despite the political unrest, the Burkinabe economy showed surprising strength, with growth estimated at 5.3% and an inflation rate that had been reduced to 2%. The European Union awarded $34 million in educational grants in July, and the International Monetary Fund approved a three-year, $53.8 million structural adjustment loan in September.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 1999

      Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 11,266,000

      Capital: Ouagadougou

      Chief of state: President Blaise Compaoré

      Head of government: Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo

      Burkina Faso was host to a number of major African events and conferences in 1998. The Africa Cup, the continent's top soccer tournament, was held in Ouagadougou in February, as was the 20th Franco-African Meeting, attended by foreign ministers from about 40 nations with ties to France. On June 8 the three-day annual summit of the Organization of African Unity, under the chairmanship of Pres. Blaise Compaoré, opened. In December African heads of state met in Ouagadougou to discuss concerns about regional conflicts, especially the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      Opposition parties had threatened to boycott the presidential election scheduled for November 15 unless the existing, pro-government National Commission for the Organization of Elections was replaced. In April Burkina Faso's Green Party was first to announce that, subject to this provision, it would participate in the elections, naming party founder and businessman Ram Ouédraogo as its candidate. In May the legislature voted to establish a new 27-member independent electoral commission to organize and supervise the election.

NANCY ELLEN LAWLER

▪ 1998

      Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 10,891,000

      Capital: Ouagadougou

      Chief of state: President Blaise Compaoré

      Head of government: Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo

      Pres. Blaise Compaoré's ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) increased its majority in the country's second multiparty parliamentary elections, held on May 11, 1997. Although 569 persons representing 13 parties campaigned for seats in the Assembly of People's Deputies, only the CDP fielded candidates in all 111 districts. The results of the first round of voting gave it 97 seats outright. The voter turnout was 44%, a 9% improvement over the 1992 elections, which had been boycotted by the opposition. On June 11 Compaoré shuffled the composition of his 30-person Cabinet, all of whom were CDP members.

      Several student leaders were arrested in early January after antigovernment demonstrations protesting living and working conditions erupted in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. Another four were detained on February 2, which triggered a week of strikes and disorder. After considerable public pressure the government freed them a week later, and the students agreed to suspend their strike while talks began. Nevertheless, a second 72-hour strike started on February 13.

      Burkina Faso agreed to send troops to Liberia and the Central African Republic to aid African peacekeeping efforts. The 15th Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, attended by competitors from 25 countries, was held in February.

NANCY ELLEN LAWLER
      This article updates Burkina Faso, history of (Burkina Faso).

▪ 1997

      Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of West Africa. Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 10,615,000. Cap.: Ouagadougou. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and (as of Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of CFAF 518.24 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 816.38 = £1 sterling). President (chairman) of the Popular Front in 1996, Capt. Blaise Compaoré; prime ministers, Marc Christian Roch Kaboré and, from February 9, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.

      At the end of 1995 the new, second chamber in the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, was inaugurated. Of its 178 members, 114 (including 10 chiefs) were chosen by Burkina Faso's traditional and religious authorities. The remainder were appointed by the government. In February Prime Minister Marc Christian Roch Kaboré and his Cabinet resigned, and Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, also of the ruling Popular Front, formed a new government. In anticipation of the 1997 legislative elections, a complete realignment of existing political parties took place in March. New coalitions were formed; of the more than 60 separate parties that had contested seats a few years earlier, only 4 remained.

      The economy continued to improve, with a 5% growth rate projected for 1996. On June 14 the International Monetary Fund approved a new three-year $57 million loan for the Structural Adjustment Program. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This article updates Burkina Faso, history of (Burkina Faso).

▪ 1996

      Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of West Africa. Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 10,324,000. Cap.: Ouagadougou. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and (as of Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of CFAF 501.49 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 792.78 = £1 sterling). President (chairman) of the Popular Front in 1995, Capt. Blaise Compaoré; prime minister, Marc-Christian Kaboré.

      The presidential party, the Organization for Popular Democracy-Labour Movement, won control of 26 of Burkina Faso's 33 major towns in municipal elections on Feb. 12, 1995. The opposition parties called for a boycott of the election because there was no independent electoral commission.

      The death of two students during demonstrations on May 9 resulted in a 48-hour strike at the University of Ouagadougou. In August former Cabinet minister Ernest Ouédraogo, leader of the Burkinabe Socialist Party (PSB), was sentenced to six months in prison for insulting Pres. Blaise Compaoré in a newspaper.

      The devaluation in 1994 of the CFA franc caused a 30% jump in the cost of living between January and June. Sharp increases in the value of livestock exports reduced domestic supply by 11%. Consequently, meat prices rose 40%; there was also a 25% increase in the price of rice. To encourage production, government payments to cotton growers were increased and prices of pesticides and fertilizers cut. In June Burkina Faso formally joined the World Trade Organization. Railroad employees struck after the management of the now privatized rail firm implemented plans to lay off 500 workers. In August the stoppage ended when the company agreed to provide severance pay and salary arrears.

      (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Burkina Faso, history of (Burkina Faso).

▪ 1995

      Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of West Africa. Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 10,044,000. Cap.: Ouagadougou. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (from Jan. 12, 1994) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and (as of Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of CFAF 526.67 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 837.67 = £ 1 sterling). President (chairman) of the Popular Front in 1994, Capt. Blaise Compaoré; prime ministers, Youssouf Ouedraogo until March 17 and, from March 22, Marc-Christian Kaboré

      The January devaluation of the CFA franc led to the resignation of Prime Minister Youssouf Ouedraogo in March. Having apparently lost the support of Pres. Blaise Compaoré, Ouedraogo's government was unable to meet widespread demands for higher wages, better working and living conditions, and a general reduction in prices. His replacement, Marc-Christian Kaboré, named a new 23-person Cabinet on March 22. The new government's inability to satisfy trade union demands for a 40-50% wage hike resulted in the National Labor Confederation's threat of a general strike on April 6.

      At a National Production Meeting on June 2, President Compaoré announced an ambitious new social and economic program to 8,000 delegates throughout the nation. The six-point scheme focused on agricultural development, promotion of small businesses, environmental protection, unemployment, the status of women, and expansion of primary education. Funding was to be sought internationally. In July the National Assembly passed, over opposition protests, a law enabling the government to privatize 19 nationalized industries. Since adoption of a structural adjustment program in 1991, Burkina Faso had already privatized 14 state-owned companies. A Joint Cooperation Committee with Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso's largest trading partner in Africa, was established in July. Its mission included the resolution of border disputes, revision of the 1966 trade agreement, and promotion of general cooperation between the two nations. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Burkina Faso, history of (Burkina Faso).

▪ 1994

      Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of West Africa. Area: 274,400 sq km (105,946 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 9,780,000. Cap.: Ouagadougou. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of CFAF 50 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 283.25 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 429.12 = £1 sterling). President (chairman) of the Popular Front in 1993, Capt. Blaise Compaoré; prime minister, Youssouf Ouedraogo.

      Economic aid poured into Burkina Faso in 1993 as international organizations signaled their approval of the nation's implementation of the Structural Adjustment Program. Grants for rural development were received from various UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Community. The Paris Club of creditor nations wrote off 50% of Burkina Faso's debt in recognition of its efforts to reduce state spending and its 5% annual growth rate. Domestically, however, the hardships caused by the Structural Adjustment Program resulted in protests by students and trade unions.

      The political scene remained calm. Seventeen of Burkina Faso's 27 parties had seats in the National Assembly, although the ruling Organization for Popular Democracy-Labour Movement held 78 of the 107 seats. In June, Pres. Blaise Compaoré attempted unsuccessfully to mediate between Togo's Pres. Gnassingbe Eyadema and the opposition coalition in talks to resolve that country's political crisis. Progress was made, however, in negotiations between Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire to delineate their common border. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Burkina Faso, history of (Burkina Faso).

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Introduction
byname  Burkina,  formerly  Republic of Upper Volta,  French  République de Haute-Volta,  
Burkina Faso, flag of landlocked state in western Africa. The country is bounded to the north and west by Mali, to the south by Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo, and to the east by Benin and Niger. The capital, Ouagadougou, is about 500 miles (800 kilometres) by road from the sea. A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960; the name Burkina Faso was adopted in 1984.

The land

Relief
 

       Burkina Faso consists of an extensive plateau, which is slightly inclined toward the south. The lateritic (red, leached, iron-bearing) layer of rock that covers the underlying crystalline rocks is deeply incised by the country's three principal rivers—the Black Volta (Black Volta River), Red Volta (Red Volta River), and White Volta (White Volta River)—all of which converge in Ghana to the south to form the Volta River. The Oti (Oti River), another tributary of the Volta, rises in southeastern Burkina Faso. In the southwest there are sandstone plateaus bordered by the Banfora Escarpment, which is about 500 feet (150 metres) high and faces southeast. The country is generally dry and the soil infertile. Great seasonal variation occurs in the flow of the rivers, and some become dry beds in the dry season.

Climate
      The climate is generally sunny, hot, and dry. In the north the climate is semiarid steppe, known locally as the Sahelian type and characterized by three to five months of rainfall, which is often erratic. To the south it becomes increasingly of the tropical wet-dry type sometimes called Sudanic, characterized by greater variability of temperature and rainfall and greater total rainfall.

      Four seasons may be distinguished in Burkina Faso: a dry and cool season from mid-November to mid-February, with temperatures dropping to about 60° F (16° C) at night; a hot season from mid-February to June, when maximum temperatures rise to about 104° F (40° C) in the shade and the harmattan—a hot, dry, dust-laden wind blowing off the Sahara—is prevalent; a rainy season, which lasts from June to September; and an intermediate season, which lasts from September until mid-November. Annual rainfall varies from about 40 inches (1,000 millimetres) in the south to less than 10 inches in the north.

Plant and animal life
      The northern part of the country consists of savanna, with prickly shrubs and stunted trees that come to life during the rainy season. In the south the prickly shrubs give way to scattered forests, which become more dense along the banks of the perennial rivers. While tree growth in the north is discouraged by the climate, farmers in the south often permit only useful trees, such as the karite (shea tree) or the baobab, to survive.

      Animal life in the eastern region includes buffalo, antelope, lions, hippopotamuses, elephants, and crocodiles. Elephants, buffalo, and antelope are also found in the southeast and on the banks of the Black Volta, while herds of hippopotamuses are to be seen some 40 miles from the city of Bobo Dioulasso. Animal life also includes monkeys. Bird and insect life is rich and varied, and there are many fish in the rivers.

Settlement patterns
      The population as a whole is unevenly distributed among the different regions. The Mossi country is densely settled. Situated in the eastern and central regions, it contains about two-thirds of the total population. In the remaining regions the population is scattered.

      About 90 percent of the population is rural—the highest percentage in western Africa—and lives in some 7,700 villages. Villages tend to be grouped toward the centre of the country at higher elevations away from the Volta valleys. For several miles on either side of the Volta rivers, the land is mostly uninhabited because of the prevalence of the deadly tsetse fly, which carries sleeping sickness, and the simulium fly, which carries onchocerciasis, or river blindness.

      Ouagadougou, the administrative capital and the seat of government, is a modern town in which several commercial companies have their headquarters. It is also the residence of the morho naba, emperor of the Mossi, and an important regional centre for international aid programs.

      Apart from Ouagadougou, the principal towns are Bobo Dioulasso, Koudougou, Ouahigouya, Kaya, Fada Ngourma, and Banfora. Bobo Dioulasso, in the west, was the economic and business capital of the country when it formed the terminus of the railroad running to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, on the coast; since 1955, however, when the railroad was extended to Ouagadougou, it has lost some of its former importance, although it remains a commercial centre.

The people
      Two principal ethnic groups live in Burkina Faso. The first of these is the Voltaic (Gur) group, which may be further divided into five subgroups—the Mossi, which include the Gurma and the Yarse, the Gurunsi, the Senufo, the Bobo, and the Lobi. The second group is the Mande family, which is divided into four subgroups: the Samo, the Marka, the Busansi, and the Dyula. In addition, there are Hausa traders, Fulani herders, and the Tuareg, or rather their settled servants, the Bella.

      Each of the ethnic groups found in Burkina Faso has its own language, although Moré, the language of the Mossi, is spoken by a great majority of the population and Dyula and Hausa are widely used in commerce. French (French language), the official language, is used for all communication with other countries. About one-half of the population are animists, attaching great importance to ancestor worship. Islām exerts an increasing influence upon customs, and Muslims account for approximately two-fifths of the population. The seat of the Roman Catholic archbishopric is Ouagadougou, and there are eight bishoprics. There are few Protestants in the country.

      In the late 20th century, yearly population growth averaged more than 2 percent; nearly one-half of the population is below the age of 15. Average life expectancy is 47 years for women and 44 years for men.

The economy
      Most of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture or stock raising. Difficult economic conditions, made worse by severe intermittent droughts, have provoked considerable migration from rural to urban areas within Burkina Faso and to neighbouring countries such as Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. As many as 1.5 million people, or almost one-third of the country's labour force, are abroad at any given time.

      The development of industry in Burkina Faso is hampered by the small size of the market economy and by the absence of a direct outlet to the sea.

Resources
      Minerals, especially manganese and gold, represent potential wealth for this otherwise poorly endowed nation. Gold mines at Poura, southwest of Koudougou, were reopened in late 1984, and smaller gold deposits near Sebba and Dori-Yalogo in the north are known to exist. Reserves of nickel, bauxite, zinc, lead, and silver are being studied. The country's substantial manganese deposits at Tambao in the northeast potentially represent Burkina's most important resource and one of the world's richest sources of this mineral. Exploitation is limited by existing transport inadequacies.

Agriculture
      Agricultural production consists of subsistence foodstuffs, with the surplus being sold as cash crops. Surplus cotton, shea nuts, sesame, and sugarcane are exported, while sorghum, millet, corn (maize), peanuts (groundnuts), and rice are grown for local consumption. Fonio (a crabgrass with seeds that are used as cereal), cassava, sweet potatoes, and beans are also grown. Stock raising, one of the principal sources of revenue, includes cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, horses, and camels. Chickens, ducks, and guinea fowl are also raised.

Industry
      Industry is limited to a number of plants, mainly in the cities and larger towns, that produce processed rice, beer, soft drinks, and flour, manufacture textiles and shoes, and assemble bicycles.

Finance
      Burkina Faso, along with six other French-speaking states in western Africa, is a member of the West African Monetary Union. These states share a common central bank, with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal, and a common currency, the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc. Branches of the central bank in Burkina Faso are located in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. Among the partially or wholly state-owned commercial banks, the most important is the Banque Internationale du Burkina in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso is also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a body encompassing most states in western Africa, which attempts to integrate and harmonize the economic interests of the region. One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso relies heavily on international aid and on remittances from migrants to help offset its current account deficit.

Trade
      External commerce, both in imports and in exports, is primarily with the Franc Zone and with neighbouring African countries in particular. Many cattle are exported to Côte d'Ivoire and to Ghana. There is a deficit in the balance of payments, largely due to the relatively small amounts of exports, which are not of sufficient value to equal the value of imported materials required for promoting further development.

Transportation
      In addition to the rail line that links Ouagadougou to the port of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, the capital is also linked by road to the principal administrative centres in the country and to the capitals of neighbouring countries. The railroad to Abidjan is 712 miles long, of which 321 miles run through Burkina Faso. Running from east to west before crossing the border, the line serves the towns of Koudougou, Bobo Dioulasso, and Banfora.

      Burkina Faso has one of the most poorly developed road networks in proportion to its size among the western African states. Only about a quarter of the network is usable year-round. The remainder consists mostly of unpaved rural roads. Three road-building projects completed in the late 1960s and early 1970s were financed by the European Development Fund. The first of these roads runs from Bobo Dioulasso to Faramana to the Mali frontier. The second runs from Ouagadougou to Pô to the Ghanaian frontier. The third runs from Ouagadougou to Koupéla. Additional internationally aided road maintenance and improvement programs, particularly in the country's northeast, were carried out in the 1980s.

      International airports are located at Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. Internal air service, linking about 50 smaller airstrips, is supplied by the national airline.

Administration and social conditions

Government
      A constitution, adopted by referendum in 1991, allowed for multiparty elections and a parliamentary republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as the head of the government. The legislative branch of the government is represented by the National Assembly, whose members are elected by universal suffrage.

      Burkina Faso is divided into 45 provinces, which in turn are divided into 382 départements. Each province is administered by a high commissioner.

Education
      School enrollment is one of the lowest in Africa, even though the government devotes a large portion of the national budget to education. French is the language of instruction in primary and secondary schools. Higher education is sought at Ouagadougou University (established 1974). Other institutes in Ouagadougou sponsored by neighbouring francophone states offer degrees in rural engineering and hydrology. Some students seek higher education in France; in Dakar, Senegal; or in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Health and welfare
      The state of health of the Burkinabé is generally poor. Most hospitals are in the larger towns, but the government has improved access to primary health care by increasing the number of village clinics. Main causes of death in Burkina Faso include lower respiratory diseases, malaria, and diarrheal diseases (diarrhea). Other diseases in the country include onchocerciasis, sleeping sickness, leprosy, yellow fever, and schistosomiasis. Periodic droughts have contributed to malnutrition and related diseases, especially among young children and pregnant women. Burkina Faso has a lower prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS (AIDS) than do many other African countries. The government has focused on prevention and treatment of AIDS with some success, and the prevalence rate has decreased since the beginning of the 21st century.

Cultural life
      Folklore is rich, reflecting the country's ethnic diversity. On national occasions each region is represented in the capital by its own folkloric group.

      Ouagadougou draws large numbers of visitors to the biennial Pan-African Film Festival (FESPACO). The International Crafts Fair, which is held in alternate years, celebrates the rich and diverse craft production of the nation's artisans. Several daily newspapers are published, including the government-sponsored Sidwaya, as well as a number of weeklies. There are three national parks—those of Po, Arly, and in the east, straddling the border with Benin and Niger, the great “W” National Park.

Pierre H. Guiguemde Myron Echenberg

History

Early history
      Axes belonging to a Neolithic culture have been found in the north of Burkina Faso. The Bobo, Lobi, and Gurunsi are the earliest known inhabitants of the country. About the 15th century AD, conquering horsemen invaded the region from the south and founded the Gurma and the Mossi (Mossi states) kingdoms, in the eastern and central areas, respectively. Several Mossi kingdoms developed, the most powerful of which was that of Ouagadougou, in the centre of the country. Headed by an emperor titled the morho naba (“great lord”), the Ouagadougou Mossi state defeated attempted invasions by Muslim Songhai and Fulani neighbours yet maintained valuable commercial links with major western African trading powers such as the Dyula, the Hausa, and the Asante (Ashanti).

European exploration and colonization
      The German explorer Gottlob Adolf Krause traversed the Mossi country in 1886; and the French army officer Louis-Gustave Binger visited the morho naba in 1888. France obtained a protectorate over Yatenga in 1895; and Paul Voulet and Charles-Paul-Louis Chanoine defeated the morho naba Boukari-Koutou (Wobogo) in 1896 and then proceeded to overrun the Gurunsi lands. The Gurma accepted a French protectorate in 1897; and in 1897 likewise the lands of the Bobo and of the Lobi were annexed by the French (though the Lobi, armed with poisoned arrows, were not effectively subdued until 1903). An Anglo-French convention of 1898 fixed the frontier between France's new acquisitions and the northern territories of the Gold Coast.

      The French divided the country into administrative cercles (“circles”) but maintained the chiefs, including the morho naba, in their traditional seats. At first attached to French Sudan (or Upper Senegal-Niger, as that colony was called from 1904 to 1920), the country was organized as a separate colony, Upper Volta (Haute-Volta), in 1919. In 1932 it was partitioned between Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, and French Sudan. In 1947, however, Upper Volta was reestablished to become an overseas territory of the French Union, with a territorial assembly of its own. The assembly in 1957 received the right to elect an executive council of government for the territory, which at the end of 1958 was transformed into an autonomous republic within the French Community. When independence was proclaimed on August 5, 1960, the new constitution provided for an executive president elected by universal adult suffrage for a five-year term and an elected Legislative Assembly.

Hubert Jules Deschamps Jean Dresch Myron Echenberg

Independence
      Since Burkina Faso became an independent nation, the military has on several occasions intervened during times of crisis. In 1966 the military, led by Lieutenant-Colonel (later General) Sangoulé Lamizana, ousted the elected government of Maurice Yaméogo. General Lamizana dominated the nation's politics until November 1980, when a series of strikes launched by workers, teachers, and civil servants led to another coup, this time headed by Colonel Saye Zerbo.

      Colonel Zerbo's short-lived rule ended in November 1982, when noncommissioned army officers rebelled and installed Major Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo as president. The Ouedraogo government soon split into conservative and radical factions, with the radicals seizing power on August 4, 1983. They set up a National Revolutionary Council (CNR) with Captain Thomas Sankara as head of state.

      A year after taking power, Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning “Land of Incorruptible People,” and ordered all officials, including himself, to open their bank accounts to public scrutiny. His government was responsible for several concrete achievements: vaccination and housing projects, tree planting to hold back the Sahel, promotion of women's rights, and curbing of waste in government.

      During Sankara's rule, tensions with Mali over the mineral-rich Agacher Strip erupted in a brief border war in December 1985. The dispute was settled in the International Court of Justice at The Hague a year later, to the satisfaction of both states.

      Initially a coalition of radical groups that included army officers, trade unionists, and members of small opposition groups, the Sankara regime gradually lost most of its popular support as power became concentrated in the hands of a few military officers—the most important of which were Sankara, Captain Blaise Compaoré, Major Jean-Baptiste Boukari Lingani, and Captain Henri Zongo. As popular support continued to decline, on October 15, 1987, a military coup overthrew Sankara, killing him and several others.

      Compaoré took power at the head of a triumvirate that included Captain Zongo and Major Lingani. However, as time went on, Lingani and Zongo disagreed with Compaoré about economic reform issues, and in 1989 they were accused of plotting to overthrow him. The two were arrested and quickly executed, and Compaoré continued to pursue his political agenda. In 1991 a new constitution was promulgated, and Compaoré was elected president in an election that was boycotted by opposition candidates. Compaoré continued to rule into the 21st century, although his regime was not without opposition or controversy. Unpopular political and economic developments and the suspicious death of a prominent journalist known for speaking out against Compaoré's administration contributed to periodic episodes of social and political unrest during the 1990s and 2000s.

Myron Echenberg Ed.

Additional Reading
General works include Yves Péron and Victoire Zalacain (eds.), Atlas de la Haute-Volta (1975); Ginette Pallier, Géographie générale de la Haute-Volta (1978); Norbert Nikiéma, La Situation linguistique en Haute-Volta (1980); and Claudette Savonnet-Guyot, Etat et sociétés au Burkina (1986). No general history exists, but Daniel Miles McFarland, Historical Dictionary of Upper Volta (Haute Volta) (1978), provides useful information. Precolonial and conquest history and ethnography are treated in Jean Capron, Communautés villageoises bwa: Mali, Haute-Volta (1973); Michel Izard, Introduction à l'histoire des royaumes mossi, 2 vol. (1970); Paul Irwin, Liptako Speaks (1981); and Anne-Marie Duperray, Les Gourounsi de Haute-Volta: conquéte et colonisation, 1896–1933 (1984). The colonial and independence periods are covered by Jean Audouin and Raymond Deniel, L'Islam en Haute-Volta à l'époque coloniale (1978); Salfo Albert Balima, Genése de la Haute-Volta (1970); Sidiki Coulibaly, Joel Gregory, and Victor Piché, Les Migrations voltaïques, vol. 1 (1980); and Elliot P. Skinner, The Mossi of the Upper Volta (1964). François D. Bassolet, Évolution de la Haute-Volta, de 1898 au 3 janvier 1966 (1968), is a subjective account of the postindependence era.Myron Echenberg

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Burkina Faso — Nombre actual del país antes llamado Alto Volta. Su gentilicio es burkinés: «Este incidente fue visto por las autoridades burkinesas como un intento de atentado contra la vida de Sankara» (Abc [Esp.] 9.4.85). No se admiten como gentilicios ni ⊕… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Burkina Faso — Burkìna Fȁso ž DEFINICIJA geogr. država u Z Africi, 274.200 km2, 9.012.000 stan., glavni grad Ouagadougou (do 1984. Gornja Volta) …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Burkina Faso — [boor kē′nə fä′sō] country in W Africa, north of Ghana: under French control from 1895, it became independent (as Upper Volta) in 1960: 105,839 sq mi (274,122 sq km); pop. 7,967,000; cap. Ouagadougou …   English World dictionary

  • Burkina Faso — 12° 16′ 00″ N 2° 04′ 00″ W / 12.2667, 2.06667 …   Wikipédia en Français


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