Burkina Country


Burkina Country Profile


Government Parliamentary
Capital Ouagadougou
Population 15,264,735
Ethnic groups Mossi over 40%, other approximately 60% (includes Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani)
Religion Religions: Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%
Language Native African languages, French
GDP per capita $1,200
Unemployment rate 77 %
Poverty (% of population living on less than US$ a day) 72
Infant mortality rate 86.02 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth 52.55 years
People living with HIV/AIDS 300,000
Major infectious diseases (very high risk) bacterial&protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, schistosomiasis, meningococcal meningitis

Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta under French colonial rule, achieved independence in 1960. In a 1983 coup Thomas Sankara, a Marxist-Leninist, took power. He gave the country its present name which translates as “land of honest men” and allied the country with North Korea, Libya, and Cuba. In 1987 Mr Sankara was overthrown and then executed in a military coup masterminded by Blaise Compaore who has been in power ever since.


Burkina Faso’s high population density, limited natural resources as well as droughts and desertification that severely affect agricultural activities result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Furthermore, the internal unrest in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire, which caused migrant workers to flee, is negatively affecting Burkina Faso’s trade and employment. Burkina Faso is classified as one of the world’s 22 least developed countries. The UN rates Burkina Faso as the world’s third poorest country.


Educational Challenges:


Literacy rate 21.8% (male 29.4%, female15.2%)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) 5 years
Pre-primary enrolment 2 %
Primary enrolment 48 %
Secondary enrolment 10% of girls, 14% of boys
Tertiary enrolment 2 %



  • Many children are not being schooled, especially unregistered children and the children of minorities and migrants.
  • Improvement is needed on the quality of education with greater emphasis on critical thinking and relevant skills.
  • Almost 900,000 children do not attend primary school or are enrolled several years too late.
  • Late enrolment in primary school causes children to be left behind.
  • As few as 43 % of children finish secondary school.
  • For every 100 boys in primary education there are only 93 girls.
  • The ratio of computers per student in secondary schools is 1:54.