The World Factbook (1990)/Burkina

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World Factbook (1990) Burkina.jpg

 See regional map VII


Total area: 274,200 km²; land area: 273,800 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries: 3,192 km total; Benin 306 km, Ghana 548 km, Ivory Coast 584 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Disputes: the disputed international boundary between Burkina and Mali was submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in October 1983 and the ICJ issued its final ruling in December 1986, which both sides agreed to accept; Burkina and Mali are proceeding with boundary demarcation, including the tripoint with Niger

Climate: tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast

Natural resources: manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates, zinc, silver

Land use: 10% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 37% meadows and pastures; 26% forest and woodland; 27% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: recent droughts and desertification severely affecting marginal agricultural activities, population distribution, economy; overgrazing; deforestation

Note: landlocked


Population: 9,077,828 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 50 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 17 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -3 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 121 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 51 years male, 52 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.2 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Burkinabe; adjective—Burkinabe

Ethnic divisions: more than 50 tribes; principal tribe is Mossi (about 2.5 million); other important groups are Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani

Religion: 65% indigenous beliefs, about 25% Muslim, 10% Christian (mainly Roman Catholic)

Language: French (official); tribal languages belong to Sudanic family, spoken by 90% of the population

Literacy: 13.2%

Labor force: 3,300,000 residents; 30,000 are wage earners; 82% agriculture, 13% industry, 5% commerce, services, and government; 20% of male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (1984); 44% of population of working age (1985)

Organized labor: four principal trade union groups represent less than 1% of population


Long-form name: Burkina Faso

Type: military; established by coup on 4 August 1983

Capital: Ouagadougou

Administrative divisions: 30 provinces; Bam, Bazéga, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemdé, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houet, Kadiogo, Kénédougou, Komoé, Kossi, Kouritenga, Mouhoun, Namentenga, Naouri, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguié, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Yatenga, Zoundwéogo

Independence: 5 August 1960 (from France; formerly Upper Volta)

Constitution: none; constitution of 27 November 1977 was abolished following coup of 25 November 1980

Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 4 August (1983)

Executive branch: chairman of the Popular Front, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) was dissolved on 25 November 1980

Judicial branch: Appeals Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—Chairman of the Popular Front Captain Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)

Political parties and leaders: all political parties banned following November 1980 coup

Suffrage: none

Elections: the National Assembly was dissolved 25 November 1980 and no elections are scheduled

Communists: small Communist party front group; some sympathizers

Other political or pressure groups: committees for the defense of the revolution, watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities

Member of: ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEAO, EAMA, ECA, EIB (associate), Entente, FAO, GATT, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, IRC, ITU, NAM, Niger River Commission, OAU, OCAM, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Paul Désiré KABORE; Chancery at 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 332-5577 or 6895; US—Ambassador David H. SHINN; Embassy at Avenue Raoul Follerau, Ouagadougou (mailing address is B. P. 35, Ouagadougou); telephone [226] 30-67-23 through 25

Flag: 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


Overview: One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina has a high population density, few natural resources, and relatively infertile soil. Economic development is hindered by a poor communications network within a landlocked country. Agriculture provides about 40% of GDP and is entirely of a subsistence nature. Industry, dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations, accounted for 13% of GDP in 1985. GDP: $1.43 billion, per capita $170; real growth rate 7.7% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (1988)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues S422 million; expenditures $516 million, including capital expenditures of $25 million (1987)

Exports: $249 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—oilseeds, cotton, live animals, gold; partners—EC 42% (France 30%, other 12%), Taiwan 17%, Ivory Coast 15% (1985)

Imports: $591 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—grain, dairy products, petroleum, machinery; partners—EC 37% (France 23%, other 14%), Africa 31%, US 15% (1985)

External debt: $969 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 7.1% (1985)

Electricity: 121,000 kW capacity; 320 million kWh produced, 37 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: agricultural processing plants; brewery, cement, and brick plants; a few other small consumer goods enterprises

Agriculture: cash crops—peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, cotton; food crops—sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock; not self-sufficient in food grains

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $271 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $2.5 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $94 million

Currency: Communauté Financière Africaine franc (plural—francs); 1 CFA franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1 284.55 (January 1990), 319.01 (1989), 297.85 (1988), 300.54 (1987), 346.30 (1986), 449.26 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 620 km total; 520 km Ouagadougou to Ivory Coast border and 100 km Ouagadougou to Kaya; all 1.00-meter gauge and single track

Highways: 16,500 km total; 1,300 km paved, 7,400 km improved, 7,800 km unimproved (1985)

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 50 total, 43 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 7 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: all services only fair; radio relay, wire, and radio communication stations in use; 13,900 telephones; stations—2 AM, 2 FM, 2 TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,775,143; 904,552 fit for military service; no conscription

Defense expenditures: 3.1% of GDP (1987)