|Background: Independence from France
came to Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) in 1960. Governmental
instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multiparty
elections in the early 1990s. Several hundred thousand farm workers
migrate south every year to Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.
Government type: parliamentary
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes
Geography of Burkina Faso
Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana
People of Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso's 12 million people belong to two major West African cultural groups--the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from Ghana and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is still led by the Mogho Naba, whose court is in Ouagadougou.
Burkina Faso is an ethnically integrated, secular state. Most of Burkina's people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, sometimes exceeding 48 per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). This population density, high for Africa, causes migrations of hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe to Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, many for seasonal agricultural work. A plurality of Burkinabe are Moslem, but most also adhere to traditional African religions. The introduction of Islam to Burkina Faso was initially resisted by the Mossi rulers. Christians, both Roman Catholics and Protestants comprise about 25% of the population, with their largest concentration in urban areas.
Female genital mutilation, child labor, child trafficking, and social exclusion of accused sorcerers remain serious problems, although the government has taken steps in recent years to combat these phenomena. Workers and civil servants generally have the right to organize unions, engage in collective bargaining, and strike for better pay and working conditions. Few Burkinabe have had formal education. Schooling is free but not compulsory, and only about 29% of Burkina's primary school-age children receive a basic education. The University of Ouagadougou, founded in 1974, was the country's first institution of higher education. The Polytechnical University in Bobo-Dioulasso was opened in 1995
Population: 13,925,313 (July 2005 est.)
SOURCES: The World Factbook,U.S. Department of State
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