Republic of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Jamahiriya

CAPITAL : Ouagadougou

FLAG: The flag consists of two equal horizontal stripes of red and green divided by a narrow gold band. A five-point gold star is at the center.

ANTHEM: The national anthem begins "Contre le férule humiliante il y a déjà mille ans" ("Against the humiliating bondage of a thousand years").

MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr) is a paper currency with one basic official rate based on the euro. It was originally pegged to the French franc. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs, and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00167 (or $1 = CFA Fr597.577) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Anniversary of the 1966 Revolution, 3 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 5 August; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'adha', Milad an-Nabi, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.



The area is largely wild bush country with a mixture of grass and small trees in varying proportions. The savanna region is mainly grassland in the rainy season and semidesert during the harmattan period. Fauna, possibly the widest variety in West Africa, includes the elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo, monkey, crocodile, giraffe, various types of antelope, and a vast variety of bird and insect life.


French is the official language of Burkina Faso. However, tribal languages belonging to the Sudanic family are spoken by 90% of the population. Moré, spoken by 55% of the population, is the most important indigenous language. The various ethnic groups speak their own languages.


In 2002, Burkina Faso had an army of 5,800 personnel. The 200-member air force had 5 combat aircraft. The gendarmerie consisted of 4,200 personnel, and 45,000 men and women were on reserve in a "people's militia." The country spent $40.1 million or about 1.4% GDP in 2001.


The country has no access to the sea, and freshwater areas are limited. Fish still are caught by traditional methods, and production amounted to 8,500 tons in 2000.


Almost all vestiges of Burkina Faso's primitive forest have been cut down for fuel or to make way for farmland, and reforestation did not begin until 1973. About 50% of the total land is considered forest or woodland. Deforestation proceeded at the rate of 0.2% per year during 1990–2000. Roundwood removals were estimated at 8 million cu m (282 million cu ft) in 2000, 93% of them for fuel.


Insurance companies must have government approval and are subject to government supervision. Automobile third-party liability insurance is compulsory. Two French companies provide most types of insurance, as does the National Society for Insurance and Reinsurance (SONAR-51% state-owned). In 1986, nonlife insurance accounted for 95.7% of all premiums.


Burkina Faso has made several trade reforms in the past decade. Most notably, almost all non-tariff barriers to trade have been eliminated and the maximum tariff has been lowered from 200% to 66%, except for petroleum, which still carries a 150% tariff. Additionally, Burkina Faso is working with the World Trade Organization to get its tariff rates within WTO parameters.


Burkina Faso has no territories or colonies.


African Bibliographic Center. French-speaking West Africa: Upper Volta Today, 1960–1967; a Selected and Introductory Bibliographical Guide. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969.

Dun and Bradstreet's Export Guide to Burkina Faso. Parsippany, N.J.: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.

Englebert, Pierre. Burkina Faso: Unsteady Statehood in West Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996.

McFarland, Daniel Miles, and Lawrence A. Rupley. Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

——. Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso [computer file]. Boulder, Colo.: net Library, Inc., 2000.

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