About Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Of the 182 countries on the Human Development Index of the United Nations the country holds the 177ste position. By comparison, Netherlands is at the sixth position. The population lives mostly on agriculture, which is funded by the UN.

Most people in Burkina Faso live of the agriculture. In the countryside knowledge transfer is handed over from father to son and mother to daughter. The knowledge of the farmers is limited to what they have learned from their father.

Agriculture and keeping livestock are carried out separate from each other; therefore the fertilizers and the remaining harvest are not used properly. Almost 80% of the population is illiterate and therefore written knowledge is for many inaccessible.

Women are in many cases still subordinate to men. Marriages are often arranged, and the creation of offspring is seen as the most important social security for the future. Health care is not common and only accessible to few.

Below are some statistics concerning demography, economy and development in Burkina Faso.

General information

Surface 274.122 km2 (8 x the size of The Netherlands)
Capital Ouagadougou
Numbers of inhabitants 14.7 million
Religion Islam, indigenous religions, Christianity (mainly Roman Catholic)
Language Islam, indigenous religions, Christianity (mainly Roman Catholic)
Climate Tropical
Political system Republic

Demographic data

Natural population growth 3,2% per year (2000-2015)
Birth (per 1000 inhabitants) 44,8 per 1000 inhabitants (2001)
Death (per 1000 inhabitants) 17 per 1000 inhabitants (2001)
Life expectation 48 year (v) – 47 Year (m) (2007)

Economic data

Gross Domestic Product US$ 6.8 million (2007)
Economic growth 2.5% average (1990-2007)
BBP per capita US$ 458 (2007)
Working population by sector Agriculture and fishing (92%), Industry (2%), Trade and services (6%) (1990)
Export US$ 241,5 mil (2001, est. EIU)
– Important products Cotton, Livestock, Gold
Import US$ 537,5 million (2001, est. EIU)
-Important products Capital Goods, food, Oil Products
Currency CFA franc
Foreign debt US$ 1.518 million (1999)
Trade Balance US$ -296 million (deficit, 2001)
Currency account balance of payment US$ -301,5 miljoen (deficit, 2001, est. EU)

Relevant factors – development

Energy Primarily dependent on generated thermal electricity which reaches only 4% of the population. Imported petroleum has low consumption, 90% of households depend on wood
Human development index nr. 177 of the 182 countries
Human poverty index 58,4% (1998, 84e position, 2000-cijfers not available)
Gender-related development index 0,312 (2000, 143e position of total 146) % inhabitants that does not reach the age of  40yrs. 43% (1995-2000)
Literacy 14,1% (v) – 33,9% (m) (2000)
% with access to safe drinking water 42% (1990-1998)
% with access to essential medication 50-79% (1999)
Children up to 5 yrs with malnutrition 34% (1995-2000)


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