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Burkina Faso :: Africa



Various ethnic groups settled and established kingdoms in the area of today's Burkina Faso from medieval times onward. In the late 19th century, several European states attempted to move into the region, but it was the French who established a protectorate of Upper Volta in 1896. Independent from France in 1960, the country changed its name to Burkina Faso in 1984. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Former President Blaise COMPAORE (1987-2014) resigned in late October 2014 following popular protests against his efforts to amend the constitution's two-term presidential limit. An interim administration organized presidential and legislative elections - held in November 2015 - where Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president. The country experienced terrorist attacks in its capital in 2016, 2017, and 2018, while additional attacks in the country's northern and eastern regions resulted in more than 1,800 deaths and over 500,000 internally displaced persons in 2019. The Government of Burkina Faso has made numerous arrests of terrorist suspects, augmented the size of its special terrorism detachment Groupement des Forces Anti-Terroristes (GFAT) in the country's north, and joined the newly-created G5 Sahel Joint Force to fight terrorism and criminal trafficking groups with regional neighbors Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Burkina Faso's high population growth, recurring drought, pervasive and perennial food insecurity, and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. (2019)



Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates:

13 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references:



total: 274,200 sq km
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km
country comparison to the world: 76

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries:

total: 3,611 km
border countries (6): Benin 386 km, Cote d'Ivoire 545 km, Ghana 602 km, Mali 1325 km, Niger 622 km, Togo 131 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


three climate zones including a hot tropical savanna with a short rainy season in the southern half, a tropical hot semi-arid steppe climate typical of the Sahel region in the northern half, and small area of hot desert in the very north of the country bordering the Sahara Desert


Mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in the west and southeast. Occupies an extensive plateau with savanna that is grassy in the north and gradually gives way to sparse forests in the south. (2019)


mean elevation: 297 m
lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m
highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m

Natural resources:

gold, manganese, zinc, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, salt

Land use:

agricultural land: 44.2% (2016 est.)
arable land: 22% (2016 est.) / permanent crops: 37% (2016 est.) / permanent pasture: 21.93% (2016 est.)
forest: 19.3% (2016 est.)
other: 36.5% (2016 est.)

Irrigated land:

550 sq km (2016)

Population distribution:

Most of the population is located in the center and south. Nearly one-third of the population lives in cities. The capital and largest city is Ouagadougou (Ouaga), with a population of 1.8 million as shown in this population distribution map (2019)

Natural hazards:

recurring droughts

Environment - current issues:

recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation (2019)

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands (2019)
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas

People and Society


20,835,401 (July 2020 est.)
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
country comparison to the world: 61


noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups:

Mossi 52%, Fulani 8.4%, Gurma 7%, Bobo 4.9%, Gurunsi 4.6%, Senufo 4.5%, Bissa 3.7%, Lobi 2.4%, Dagara 2.4%, Tuareg/Bella 1.9%, Dioula 0.8%, unspecified/no answer 0.3%, other 7.2% (2010 est.)


French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population


Muslim 61.5%, Roman Catholic 23.3%, traditional/animist 7.8%, Protestant 6.5%, other/no answer 0.2%, none 0.7% (2010 est.)

Demographic profile:

Burkina Faso has a young age structure – the result of declining mortality combined with steady high fertility – and continues to experience rapid population growth, which is putting increasing pressure on the country's limited arable land. More than 65% of the population is under the age of 25, and the population is growing at 3% annually. Mortality rates, especially those of infants and children, have decreased because of improved health care, hygiene, and sanitation, but women continue to have an average of almost 6 children. Even if fertility were substantially reduced, today's large cohort entering their reproductive years would sustain high population growth for the foreseeable future. Only about a third of the population is literate and unemployment is widespread, dampening the economic prospects of Burkina Faso's large working-age population. ++ Migration has traditionally been a way of life for Burkinabe, with seasonal migration being replaced by stints of up to two years abroad. Cote d'Ivoire remains the top destination, although it has experienced periods of internal conflict. Under French colonization, Burkina Faso became a main labor source for agricultural and factory work in Cote d'Ivoire. Burkinabe also migrated to Ghana, Mali, and Senegal for work between the world wars. Burkina Faso attracts migrants from Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Mali, who often share common ethnic backgrounds with the Burkinabe. Despite its food shortages and high poverty rate, Burkina Faso has become a destination for refugees in recent years and hosts about 33,500 Malians as of May 2017. (2018)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 43.58% (male 4,606,350/female 4,473,951)
15-24 years: 20.33% (male 2,121,012/female 2,114,213)
25-54 years: 29.36% (male 2,850,621/female 3,265,926)
55-64 years: 3.57% (male 321,417/female 423,016)
65 years and over: 3.16% (male 284,838/female 374,057) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 87.9
youth dependency ratio: 83.4
elderly dependency ratio: 4.5
potential support ratio: 22.1 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 17.9 years
male: 17 years
female: 18.7 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216

Population growth rate:

2.66% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18

Birth rate:

35.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20

Death rate:

8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84

Net migration rate:

-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127

Population distribution:

Most of the population is located in the center and south. Nearly one-third of the population lives in cities. The capital and largest city is Ouagadougou (Ouaga), with a population of 1.8 million as shown in this population distribution map (2019)


urban population: 30.6% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.99% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

2.780 million OUAGADOUGOU (capital), 972,000 Bobo-Dioulasso (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

19.4 years (2010 est.)
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate:

320 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34

Infant mortality rate:

total: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 47.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 62.7 years
male: 60.9 years
female: 64.5 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207

Total fertility rate:

4.51 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

32.5% (2018/19)

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 94.9% of population
rural: 67.9% of population
total: 75.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 32.1% of population
total: 24.4% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

6.9% (2017)

Physicians density:

0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density:

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 88.2% of population
rural: 30.2% of population
total: 46.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 11.8% of population
rural: 69.8% of population
total: 53.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.8% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

100,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

3,100 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

5.6% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 175

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

17.7% (2018)
country comparison to the world: 30

Education expenditures:

5.4% of GDP (2018)
country comparison to the world: 38


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 41.2%
male: 50.1%
female: 32.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 8.7%
male: 5.3%
female: 12.5% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 136


Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
local long form: none
local short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
etymology: name translates as "Land of the Honest (Incorruptible) Men"

Government type:

presidential republic


name: Ouagadougou
geographic coordinates: 12 22 N, 1 31 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: Ouagadougou is a Francophone spelling of the native name "Wogodogo," meaning "where people get honor and respect"

Administrative divisions:

13 regions; Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Centre, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Centre-Ouest, Centre-Sud, Est, Hauts-Bassins, Nord, Plateau-Central, Sahel, Sud-Ouest


5 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 11 December (1958); note - commemorates the day that Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French Community


history: several previous; latest approved by referendum 2 June 1991, adopted 11 June 1991, temporarily suspended late October to mid-November 2014; initial draft of a new constitution to usher in the new republic was completed in January 2017 and a final draft was submitted to the government in December 2017; a constitutional referendum originally scheduled for adoption in March 2019 was postponed until 2020
amendments: proposed by the president, by a majority of National Assembly membership, or by petition of at least 30,000 eligible voters submitted to the Assembly; passage requires at least three-fourths majority vote in the Assembly; failure to meet that threshold requires majority voter approval in a referendum; constitutional provisions on the form of government, the multiparty system, and national sovereignty cannot be amended; amended several times, last in 2012

Legal system:

civil law based on the French model and customary law; in mid-2019, the National Assembly amended the penal code

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Burkina Faso
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Roch Marc Christian KABORE (since 29 December 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Christophe DABIRE (since 24 January 2019)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections/appointments: president elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second); last held on 22 November 2020 (next to be held in November 2025); prime minister appointed by the president with consent of the National Assembly
election results: Roch Marc Christian KABORE reelected president in first round; percent of vote - Roch Marc Christian KABORE (MPP) 57.9%, Eddie KOMBOIGO (CDP) 15.5%, Zephirin DIABRE (UPC)12.5%, other 14.1%

Legislative branch:

description: unicameral National Assembly (127 seats; 111 members directly elected in 13 multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote and 26 members elected in a nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; all member serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 22 November 2020 (next to be held in November 2025)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party (preliminary results) - MPP 56, CDP 20, NTD 13, UPC 12

Judicial branch:

highest courts: Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (consists of NA judges); Council of State (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (consists of the council president and 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judge appointments mostly controlled by the president of Burkina Faso; judges have no term limits; Council of State judge appointment and tenure NA; Constitutional Council judges appointed by the president of Burkina Faso upon the proposal of the minister of justice and the president of the National Assembly; judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Appeals Court; High Court; first instance tribunals; district courts; specialized courts relating to issues of labor, children, and juveniles; village (customary) courts

Political parties and leaders:

African Democratic Rally/Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF/RDA [Gilbert Noel OUEDRAOGO] ++ African People's Movement or MAP [Victorien TOUGOUMA] ++ Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Eddie KOMBOIGO] ++ Le Faso Autrement [Ablasse OUEDRAOGO] ++ New Alliance of the Faso or NAFA [Mahamoudou DICKO] ++ New Time for Democracy or NTD [Vincent DABILGOU] ++ Organization for Democracy and Work or ODT [Anatole BONKOUNGOU] ++ Party for Development and Change or PDC [Aziz SEREME] ++ Party for Democracy and Progress-Socialist Party or PDP-PS [Drabo TORO] ++ Party for Democracy and Socialism/Metba or PDS/Metba [Philippe OUEDRAOGO] ++ Party for National Renaissance or PAREN [Michel BERE] ++ People's Movement for Progress or MPP [Simon COMPAORE] ++ Rally for Democracy and Socialism or RDS [Francois OUEDRAOGO] ++ Rally for the Development of Burkina or RDB [Celestin Saidou COMPAORE] ++ Rally of Ecologists of Burkina Faso or RDEB [Adama SERE] ++ Soleil d'Avenir [Abdoulaye SOMA] ++ Union for a New Burkina or UBN [Diemdioda DICKO] ++ Union for Progress and Change or UPC [Zephirin DIABRE] ++ Union for Rebirth - Sankarist Party or UNIR-MS [Benewende Stanislas SANKARA] ++ Union for the Republic or UPR [Toussaint Abel COULIBALY] ++ Youth Alliance for the Republic and Independence or AJIR [Adama KANAZOE]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Seydou KABORE (since 18 January 2017)
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Andrew YOUNG (since 1 December 2016)
telephone: [226] 25-49-53-00
embassy: Rue 15.873, Avenue Sembene Ousmane, Ouaga 2000, Secteur 15
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - US Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440
FAX: [226] 25-49-56-28

Flag description:

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; red recalls the country's struggle for independence, green is for hope and abundance, and yellow represents the country's mineral wealth
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s):

white stallion; national colors: red, yellow, green

National anthem:

name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)
lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA
note: adopted 1974; also known as "Une Seule Nuit" (One Single Night); written by the country's former president, an avid guitar player


Economic overview:

Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. Irregular patterns of rainfall, poor soil, and the lack of adequate communications and other infrastructure contribute to the economy's vulnerability to external shocks. About 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. ++ Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso's key exports - gold has accounted for about three-quarters of the country's total export revenues. Burkina Faso's economic growth and revenue depends largely on production levels and global prices for the two commodities. The country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports. ++ In 2016, the government adopted a new development strategy, set forth in the 2016-2020 National Plan for Economic and Social Development, that aims to reduce poverty, build human capital, and to satisfy basic needs. A new three-year IMF program (2018-2020), approved in 2018, will allow the government to reduce the budget deficit and preserve critical spending on social services and priority public investments. ++ While the end of the political crisis has allowed Burkina Faso's economy to resume positive growth, the country's fragile security situation could put these gains at risk. Political insecurity in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose long-term challenges.

GDP real growth rate:

6.4% (2017 est.)
5.9% (2016 est.)
3.9% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

-3.2% (2019 est.)
1.9% (2018 est.)
1.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1

Credit ratings:

Standard & Poors rating: B (2017)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$38.749 billion (2019 est.)
$36.663 billion (2018 est.)
$34.323 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$14.271 billion (2018 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$821 (2019 est.)
$800 (2018 est.)
$770 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 213

Gross national saving:

9.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
8.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
5.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 31% (2017 est.)
industry: 23.9% (2017 est.)
services: 44.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 56.5% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 23.9% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 24.6% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 28.4% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -34.4% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

51.4 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock


cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold

Industrial production growth rate:

10.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14

Labor force:

8.501 million (2016 est.)
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment
country comparison to the world: 57

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

77% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 219

Population below poverty line:

40.1% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2009 est.)


revenues: 2.666 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 3.655 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

21.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-7.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198

Public debt:

38.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
38.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

-$1.019 billion (2017 est.)
-$820 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146


$3.902 billion (2018 est.)
$3.954 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124

Exports - partners:

Switzerland 44.9%, India 15.6%, South Africa 11.3%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.9% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

gold, cotton, livestock


$5.294 billion (2019 est.)
$5.381 billion (2018 est.)
$5.3 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum

Imports - partners:

China 13.2%, Cote d'Ivoire 9.5%, US 8.2%, Thailand 8.1%, France 6.5%, Ghana 4.4%, Togo 4.4%, India 4.3% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$49 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$50.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Debt - external:

$3.056 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.88 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142

Exchange rates:

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
605.3 (2017 est.)
593.01 (2016 est.)
593.01 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

population without electricity: 16 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 22% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 69% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 2% (2019)

Electricity - production:

990 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152

Electricity - consumption:

1.551 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Electricity - imports:

630 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

342,400 kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

80% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

12% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

23,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132

Refined petroleum products - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Refined petroleum products - imports:

23,580 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

3.421 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 75,066
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 20,330,657
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 100.21 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: system includes microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations; insufficient mobile spectrum, and poor condition of fixed-line networks hinders the development of fixed-line Internet services and leaves Burkina Faso with some of the most expensive telecommunications globally; mobile telephony has experienced growth, but below the African average; govt. proposes technology-neutral licenses to boost mobile broadband connectivity and amend legislation to improve regulators and legalize the framework governing the telecom sector (2020)
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage 100 per 100, with multiple providers there is competition and the hope for growth from a low base; Internet penetration is 11% countrywide, but higher in urban areas (2019)
international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media:

since the official inauguration of Terrestrial Digital Television (TNT) in December 2017, Burkina Faso now has 14 digital TV channels among which 2 are state-owned; there are more than 140 radio stations (commercial, religious, community) available throughout the country including a national and regional state-owned network; the state-owned Radio Burkina and the private Radio Omega are among the most widespread stations and both include broadcasts in French and local languages (2019)

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 3,158,834
percent of population: 16% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 13,818
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162


National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 151,531 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 100,000 mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

XT (2016)


23 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 133

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 21 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 13 (2013)
under 914 m: 5 (2013)


total: 622 km (2014)
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)
note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire
country comparison to the world: 108


total: 15,304 km (2014)
paved: 3,642 km (2014)
unpaved: 11,662 km (2014)
country comparison to the world: 124

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

Armed Forces of Burkina Faso (FABF): Army of Burkina Faso (L'Armee de Terre, LAT), Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso, FABF), National Gendarmerie, National Fire Brigade (Brigade Nationale des Sapeurs-Pompiers, BNSP) (2019)
note: the National Gendarmerie officially reports to the Ministry of Defense, but usually operates in support of the Ministry of Security and the Ministry of Justice; Gendarmerie troops are typically integrated with Army forces in anti-terrorism operations; for example, Gendarmerie, Army, and police forces were combined to form a task force known as the Groupement des Forces Anti-Terroristes (GFAT) to address terrorist activities along the country's northern border in 2013

Military expenditures:

2.4% of GDP (2019)
2.1% of GDP (2018)
1.4% of GDP (2017)
1.2% of GDP (2016)
1.3% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 36

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso (FABF) have approximately 12,000 personnel (7,000 Army; 500 Air Force; 4,500 National Gendarmerie) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the FABF has a mix of foreign-supplied weapons; since 2010, it has received limited amounts of equipment from several countries, including donated second hand armaments; the leading suppliers are Brazil, Russia, and Turkey (2019 est.)

Military deployments:

1,100 Mali (MINUSMA) (2020)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may serve in supporting roles (2013)

Military - note:

since at least 2016, the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso have been actively engaged in combat operations with terrorist groups linked to al-Qa'ida and ISIS; military operations have occurred in the Centre‐Est, Centre‐Nord, Est, Nord, and Sahel administrative regions ++ Burkina Faso is part of a five-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5 Sahel Group, set up in 2014 with Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger; it has committed 550 troops and 100 gendarmes to the force; the G5 force is backed by the UN, US, and France; G5 troops periodically conduct joint operations with French forces deployed to the Sahel under Operation Barkhane; in early 2020, G5 Sahel military chiefs of staff agreed to allow defense forces from each of the states to pursue terrorist fighters up to 100 km into neighboring countries (2020)


Terrorist group(s):

Ansarul Islam; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the Greater Sahara; al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun); Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (2020)
note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

adding to illicit cross-border activities, Burkina Faso has issues concerning unresolved boundary alignments with its neighbors; demarcation is currently underway with Mali; the dispute with Niger was referred to the ICJ in 2010, and a dispute over several villages with Benin persists; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso around the town of Koualou

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 20,951 (Mali) (2020)
IDPs: 921,471 (2020)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Burkinabe children are forced to work as farm hands, gold panners and washers, street vendors, domestic servants, and beggars or in the commercial sex trade, with some transported to nearby countries; to a lesser extent, Burkinabe women are recruited for legitimate jobs in the Middle East or Europe and subsequently forced into prostitution; women from other West African countries are also lured to Burkina Faso for work and subjected to forced prostitution, forced labor in restaurants, or domestic servitude
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Burkina Faso does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; law enforcement efforts decreased in 2014, with a significant decline in trafficking prosecutions (none for forced begging involving Koranic school teachers – a prevalent form of trafficking) and no convictions, a 2014 law criminalizing the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography is undermined by a provision allowing offenders to pay a fine in lieu of serving prison time proportionate to the crime; the government sustained efforts to identify and protect a large number of child victims, relying on support from NGOs and international organizations; nationwide awareness-raising activities were sustained, but little was done to stop forced begging (2015)