Fast Facts

Ouagadougou; 821,000
274,200 square kilometers (105,869 square miles)
French, native African languages
Muslim, indigenous beliefs, Christian
CFA franc
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,100
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Burkina Faso
Map: Burkina Faso

Half the population of Burkina Faso, or "land of the honest people," claims descent from the Mossi warriors who ruled over one of the most powerful empires in West Africa from the 11th to the 19th century. The landlocked country, desert in the north and savanna in the center and south, is home to 63 ethnic groups. Formerly known as Upper Volta, the French colony gained independence in 1960. Its mostly agricultural economy has been hurt by droughts and political instability. Parks protect the largest elephant population in West Africa and other wildlife.


  • Industry: Cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap
  • Agriculture: Cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame; livestock
  • Exports: Cotton, livestock, gold

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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