Burkina Faso - Country Portrait

  • Area: 274,000 square kilometers 
  • Population (2012): 16.4 million
  • Official language: French 
  • Independent: since 1960 
  • Capital: Ouagadougou 
  • Form of government: Parliamentary republic; Constitution from 1991 
  • Average life expectancy (2012): 55.9
  • Illiteracy rate: 71.3 % (population over 15 years) 
  • Top 3 export goods: Cotton, gold, animals and animal products, 
  • Average family size of a cotton farmer: 10.1 people
  • Known for: The famous Ouagadougou Film Festival

Burkina Faso Bilder

Karte Burkina Faso Zoom

This “Land of Upright People” (the English translation of the country’s name), is located in the middle of West Africa, with borders to Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.  It has a tropical climate with alternating wet and dry seasons. About one-quarter of the country, the desert areas of the Sahel, is dominated by extreme drought. In recent years, extreme climate phenomena such as severe droughts and floods have increased greatly. This affects the poor population of the country in particular, who practice subsistence agriculture up to 90 percent, meaning they grow enough food to feed themselves and their families.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world; according to the Human Development Index of the United Nations, the country is ranked 183 of 187. With a figure of 44.6 percent, almost half the population lives below the poverty level, that is, they live on less than $1.25 per day. The level of education is low: The illiteracy rate is over 70 percent. The entire country is weakened by the wide spread of HIV and AIDS. The high number of infections among the productive population will hinder significant development of the national economy and industrialization in the country in the foreseeable future. The state budget consists almost entirely of development aid. 

To date, cotton is the driving force of the Burkinabe economy. The cotton sector makes for up to 39 percent of the gross domestic product with about 18 percent of people living from cotton cultivation. In the second half of the 1990s, cotton production experienced a massive boom in Burkina Faso, with annual growth rates of over 20 percent. The high foreign exchange earnings from cotton exports justify the increasing value of cotton production for the economic development of Burkina Faso, but also the growing dependence of economic development on a single export product and the climate in the region. 

In addition to trainings to increase cotton yields and thus income CmiA supported together with partners of the public and private hand alphabetization courses for adults in the rural cotton growing areas .

Sources: Human Development Report 2013 (UN); The World Fact Book 2014, Auswärtiges Amt 2013; World Development Indicators 2014; 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5.

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