Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; the July 2018 population estimate by the United Nations was 19,751,651. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as the official language of government and business. 40% of the population speaks the Mossi language. Called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara, its citizens are known as Burkinabé. Its capital is Ouagadougou; the Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community, on 5 August 1960 it gained full independence, with Maurice Yaméogo as President. After protests by students and labour unions, Yaméogo was deposed in the 1966 coup d'état, led by Sangoulé Lamizana, who became President, his rule coincided with the Sahel drought and famine, facing problems from the country's traditionally powerful trade unions he was deposed in the 1980 coup d'état, led by Saye Zerbo.
Encountering resistance from trade unions again, Zerbo's government was overthrown in the 1982 coup d'état, led by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. The leader of the leftist faction of Ouédraogo's government, Thomas Sankara, became Prime Minister but was imprisoned. Efforts to free him led to the popularly-supported 1983 coup d'état. Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso and launched an ambitious socioeconomic programme which included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. Sankara was overthrown and killed in the 1987 coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré – deteriorating relations with former coloniser France and its ally the Ivory Coast were the reason given for the coup. In 1987, Blaise Compaoré became President and, after an alleged 1989 coup attempt, was elected in 1991 and 1998, elections which were boycotted by the opposition and received a low turnout, as well as in 2005.
He remained head of state until he was ousted from power by the popular youth upheaval of 31 October 2014, after which he was exiled to the Ivory Coast. Michel Kafando subsequently became the transitional President of the country. On 16 September 2015, a military coup d'état against the Kafando government was carried out by the Regiment of Presidential Security, the former presidential guard of Compaoré. On 24 September 2015, after pressure from the African Union, ECOWAS and the armed forces, the military junta agreed to step down, Michel Kafando was reinstated as Acting President. In the general election held on 29 November 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won in the first round with 53.5% of the vote and was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015. The 2018 CIA World Factbook provides this summary of the issues facing Burkina Faso. "The country experienced terrorist attacks in its capital in 2016, 2017 and 2018, continues to mobilize resources to counter terrorist threats". In 2018, several governments were warning their citizens not to travel into the northern part of the country and into several provinces in the East Region.
The CIA report states that "Burkina Faso's high population growth, recurring drought and perennial food insecurity, limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens". The report is optimistic in some aspects concerning activities being done with assistance by the International Monetary Fund. "A new three-year IMF program, approved in 2018, will allow the government to reduce the budget deficit and preserve critical spending on social services and priority public investments". Called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara; the words "Burkina" and "Faso" both stem from different languages spoken in the country: "Burkina" comes from Mossi and means "upright", showing how the people are proud of their integrity, while "Faso" comes from the Dyula language and means "fatherland". The "bè" suffix added onto "Burkina" to form the demonym "Burkinabè" comes from the Fula language and means "men or women".
The CIA summarizes the etymology as "name translates as "Land of the Honest Men". The French colony of Upper Volta was named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River; the northwestern part of present-day Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers from 14000 BC to 5000 BC. Their tools, including scrapers and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973 through archaeological excavations. Agricultural settlements were established between 3600 and 2600 BC; the Bura culture was an Iron-Age civilization centred in the southwest portion of modern-day Niger and in the southeast part of contemporary Burkina Faso. Iron industry, in smelting and forging for tools and weapons, had developed in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1200 BC. From the 3rd to the 13th centuries AD, the Iron Age Bura culture existed in the territory of present-day southeastern Burkina Faso and southwestern Niger. Various ethnic groups of present-day Burkina Faso, such as the Mossi and Dyula, arrived in successive waves between the 8th and 15th centuries.
From the 11th century, the Mossi people established several separate kingdoms. In the 1890s, during the European Scramble for Africa, the territory of Burkina Faso was invaded by France, colonial control was established following a wa
Nahouri is one of the 45 provinces of Burkina Faso, located in the Centre-Sud administrative region. In 2006 the population was 155,463, its capital is Pô. In 2011 the province had 109 primary schools and 20 secondary schools. In 2011 the province had 19 health and social promotion centers, 3 doctors and 67 nurses. See also: Regions of Burkina Faso Provinces of Burkina Faso Departments of Burkina Faso
Séno is one of the 45 provinces of Burkina Faso, located in its Sahel Region. The name of the province comes from the Fulfulde seeno, for "sandy plain." Its capital is Dori. Seno is divided into 6 departments: Regions of Burkina Faso Provinces of Burkina Faso Departments of Burkina Faso
Léraba is one of the 45 provinces of Burkina Faso, located in its Cascades Region. Its capital is Sindou, its highest point is Mount Tenakourou with an elevation of 747 metres. Leraba is divided into 8 departments: Regions of Burkina Faso Provinces of Burkina Faso Departments of Burkina Faso
Gaoua is a market town in southern Burkina Faso known for its superstitious values and customs. The population, at last estimate, rested at 30,931 Located in the red earth, green hills, fast flowing streams of southwestern Burkina Faso, Gaoua is the capital of Poni Province and forms a sort of capital for the sacred rites and bush lore of the Lobi peoples. According to local myth, Gaoua was founded when the Lobi migrated across from northern Ghana where they found the Gan people peoples occupying the territory; as a result, they named the trek across to Gaoua Gan-houo meaning "route of the Gan people". Attractions in the town include a sacred grove of the Poni Museum and caves. There is a mosque on elevated ground near the centre; the Gaoua Catholic parish Church of the Sacred Heart will be the cathedral for the newly erected Catholic Diocese of Gaoua. Though their ancient home was considered to be Takyiman in Ghana, the Lobi migrated across the Mouhoun River as a result of the Dagomba Wars in the 1770s.
Thirty years the Lobi displaced the Gan at Gaoua. The French occupied southwest Burkina Faso in 1879, based on the region's reputation for gold, dating back to the era of Mossi and Dyula gold traders. Although farmers, the Lobi did partake of gold panning around Gaoua, besides Gaoua being on a trade route to the Poura gold mines further north. Birimian Geology of Burkina Faso Gaoua travel guide from Wikivoyage
Sud-Ouest Region (Burkina Faso)
Sud-Ouest is one of Burkina Faso's 13 administrative regions. It was created on July 2, 2001 and had a population of 624,056 in 2006, it covers an area of 16 202 km2. The region's capital is Gaoua. Four provinces make up the region—Bougouriba, Ioba and Poni; as of 2010, the population of the region was 687,826 with 51.99 per cent females. The population in the region was 4.37 per cent of the total population of the country. The child mortality rate was 98, infant mortality rate was 107 and the mortality of children under five was 195; as of 2007, the literacy rate in the region was 18.1 per cent, compared to a national average of 28.3 per cent. The coverage of cereal need compared to the total production of the region was 156.00 per cent. Most of Burkino Faso is a wide plateau is called falaise de Banfora. There are three major rivers, the Red Volta, Black Volta and White Volta, which cuts through different valleys; the climate is hot, with unreliable rains across different seasons. Gold and quartz are common minerals found across the country, while manganese deposits are common.
The dry season is from October to May and rains are common during the wet season from June to September. The soil texture is porous and hence the yield is poor; the average elevation is around 200 m to 300 m above mean sea level. Among West African countries, Burkino Faso has the largest elephant population and the country is replete with game reserves; the southern regions have Savannah and forests. The principal river is the Black Volta, that originates in the southern region and drains into Ghana; the areas near the rivers have flies like tsetse and similium, which are carriers of sleep sickness and river blindness. The average rainfall in the region is around 100 cm compared to northern regions that receive only 25 cm rainfall; as of 2010, the population of the region was 687,826 with 51.99 per cent females. The population in the region was 4.37 per cent of the total population of the country. The child mortality rate was 98, infant mortality rate was 107 and the mortality of children under five was 195.
As of 2007, among the working population, there were 59.80 per cent employees, 31.20 per cent under employed, 9.00 per cent inactive people, 9.00 per cent not working and 0.00 unemployed people in the region. As of 2007, there were 274 km of regional roads and 337.6 km of county roads. The first set of car traffic was 21, first set of two-wheeler traffic was 1,090 and the total classified road network was 1,107; the total corn produced during 2015 was 102,426 tonnes, cotton was 46,175 tonnes, cowpea was 27,504 tonnes, ground nut was 17,780 tonnes, millet was 44,400 tonnes, rice was 13,943 tonnes and sorghum was 119,291 tonnes. The coverage of cereal need compared to the total production of the region was 156.00 per cent. As of 2007, the literacy rate in the region was 18.1 per cent, compared to a national average of 28.3 per cent. The gross primary enrolment was 68.8 per cent, pos-primary was 27 per cent and gross secondary school enrolment was 7.1. There were 66 girls enroled in the primary and post-secondary level.
There were 5 teachers in primary & post-secondary level, while there were 370 teachers in post-primary and post-secondary level. Burkina Faso gained independence from France in 1960, it was called Upper Volta. There have been military coups till 1983 when Captain Thomas Sankara took control and implemented radical left wing policies, he was outsed by Blaise Compaore, who continued for 27 years till 2014, when a popular uprising ended his rule. As per Law No.40/98/AN in 1998, Burkina Faso adhered to decentralization to provide administrative and financial autonomy to local communities. There are each governed by a Governor; the regions are subdivided into 45 provinces. The communes are interchangeable. There are other administrative entities like village. An urban commune has 10,000 people under it. If any commune is not able to get 75 per cent of its planned budget in revenues for 3 years, the autonomy is taken off; the communes are administered by elected Mayors. The communes are stipulated to develop economic and cultural values of its citizens.
A commune has financial autonomy and can interact with other communes, government agencies or international entities
Ruins of Loropéni
The ruins of Loropéni are an ancient heritage site near the town of Loropéni in southern Burkina Faso. They were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009; these ruins are the country's first World Heritage site. The site, which spans 11,130 square metres, includes an array of stone walls that comprised an ancient fortress, the best preserved of ten in the area, they date back at least a thousand years. The settlement was occupied by the Lohron or Kulango people and prospered from the trans-Saharan gold trade, reaching its height between the 14th and 17th centuries AD, it was abandoned in the early 19th century. Somé, Lassina Simporé. Lieux de mémoire, patrimoine et histoire en Afrique de l’Ouest: Aux origines des Ruines de Loropéni, Burkina Faso. Archives contemporaines, 2014. Royer, Bertrand. Le fil d’Ariane du patrimoine. Du musée ethnographique de Gaoua au site UNESCO de Loropéni. Géographie et cultures 79: 109-125. Royer, Bertrand. "Patrimoine Mondial de l'Unesco et mise en valeur des ruines de Loropéni."
Net et terrain: ethnographie de la n@ture en Afrique: 94-122. YouTube video by NHK Japan