Photos of Burkina Faso

Sunset over Ouagadougou. Image courtesy of NASA / Rebekke Muench.



Many of Burkina Faso’s ethnic groups arrived in the region between the 12th and 15th centuries. The Gurma and Mossi peoples established several of the largest kingdoms in the area and used horse-mounted warriors in military campaigns. Of the various Mossi kingdoms, the most powerful were Ouagadougou and Yatenga. In the late 19th century, European states competed for control of the region. France eventually conquered the area and established it as a French protectorate.

The country achieved independence from France in 1960 and changed its name to Burkina Faso in 1984. Repeated military coups were common in the country’s first few decades. In 1987 Blaise COMPAORE deposed the president, established a government, and ruled for 27 years. In 2014, COMPAORE resigned after protests against his repeated efforts to amend the constitution's two-term presidential limit. An interim administration led a year-long transition, organizing presidential and legislative elections. In 2015, Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president, and he was reelected in 2020. In 2022, the military conducted two takeovers: In January, army colonel Paul Henri DAMIBA overthrew KABORE in a coup d'etat, and then in September, army captain Ibrahim TRAORE deposed DAMIBA and declared himself transition president. The transition government planned to hold elections by July 2024, but they may be delayed due to security concerns.

Terrorist groups -- including groups affiliated with Al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State -- began attacks in the country in 2016 and conducted attacks in the capital in 2016, 2017, and 2018. By early 2023, insecurity in Burkina Faso had displaced more than 2 million people and led to significant jumps in humanitarian needs and food insecurity. In addition to terrorism, the country faces a myriad of problems including high population growth, recurring drought, pervasive and perennial food insecurity, and limited natural resources. It is one of the world’s poorest countries.


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Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates

13 00 N, 2 00 W


total: 274,200 sq km

land: 273,800 sq km

water: 400 sq km

comparison ranking: total 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


highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m

lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m

mean elevation: 297 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 44.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 37% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 21.93% (2018 est.)

forest: 19.3% (2018 est.)

other: 36.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

550 sq km (2016)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Volta river source (shared with Ghana [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

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


Natural hazards

recurring droughts

Geography - note

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

People and Society


total: 23,042,199

male: 11,297,749

female: 11,744,450 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 59; male 59; total 59


noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)

adjective: Burkinabe

Ethnic groups

Mossi 53.7%, Fulani (Peuhl) 6.8%, Gurunsi 5.9%, Bissa 5.4%, Gurma 5.2%, Bobo 3.4%, Senufo 2.2%, Bissa 1.5%, Lobi 1.5%, Tuareg/Bella 0.1%, other 12.8%, foreign 0.7% (2021 est.)


Mossi 52.9%, Fula 7.8%, Gourmantche 6.8%, Dyula 5.7%, Bissa 3.3%, Gurunsi 3.2%, French (official) 2.2%, Bwamu 2%, Dagara 2%, San 1.7%, Marka 1.6%, Bobo 1.5%, Senufo 1.5%, Lobi 1.2%, other 6.6% (2019 est.)


Muslim 63.8%, Roman Catholic 20.1%, Animiste 9%, Protestant 6.2%, other 0.2%, none 0.7% (2019 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. Almost 65% of the population is under the age of 25 as of 2020, and the population is growing at 2.5% 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 more than 4 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 33,600 Malian refugees as of October 2022.


Age structure

0-14 years: 41.6% (male 4,868,488/female 4,727,316)

15-64 years: 55.1% (male 6,116,674/female 6,590,775)

65 years and over: 3.2% (2024 est.) (male 312,587/female 426,359)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 87.4

youth dependency ratio: 82.6

elderly dependency ratio: 4.8

potential support ratio: 20.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 17.9 years

female: 19.5 years

comparison ranking: total 218

Population growth rate

2.4% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 22

Birth rate

31.9 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 22

Death rate

7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Net migration rate

-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 123

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



urban population: 32.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

3.204 million OUAGADOUGOU (capital), 1.129 million Bobo-Dioulasso (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.1 years (2021 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

264 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 33

Infant mortality rate

total: 47 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 51.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 42.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 20

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 64.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 62.3 years

female: 66.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 208

Total fertility rate

4.02 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 23

Gross reproduction rate

1.98 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 94.7% of population

rural: 71.3% of population

total: 78.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.3% of population

rural: 28.7% of population

total: 21.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.7% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 90.8% of population

rural: 37.7% of population

total: 54% of population

unimproved: urban: 9.2% of population

rural: 62.3% of population

total: 46% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Burkina Faso is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

5.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 175

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 7.28 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.31 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 5.88 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 57

Tobacco use

total: 14.3% (2020 est.)

male: 22.1% (2020 est.)

female: 6.4% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 108

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

17.5% (2021)

comparison ranking: 27

Education expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 58


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 46%

male: 54.5%

female: 37.8% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 9 years

female: 9 years (2020)


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-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban


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

Land use

agricultural land: 44.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 37% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 21.93% (2018 est.)

forest: 19.3% (2018 est.)

other: 36.5% (2018 est.)


urban population: 32.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity in the north and high food prices - according to the latest analysis, about 3.53 million people are projected to face acute food insecurity during the June to August 2023 lean season period; this would be a slight increase compared to the preceding year; food insecurity is primarily underpinned by worsening insecurity in Centre-Nord and Sahel regions, which, as of December 2022 (the latest data available), had displaced about 1.88 million people; high food prices further aggravate conditions of the most vulnerable households (2023)

Revenue from forest resources

4.54% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 165

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 40.74 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 3.42 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 12.85 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,575,251 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 309,030 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 12% (2005 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Volta river source (shared with Ghana [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 380 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 420 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

13.5 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


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; on 1 March 2022 a transition charter was adopted, allowing military authorities to rule for three years and barring the transitional president from being an electoral candidate after the transition

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

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: transitional President Capt. Ibrahim TRAORE (since 30 September 2022); note - on 30 September 2022, a military junta, led by TRAORE, took power and ousted Transition President Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo DAMIBA and took over as head of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration

head of government: Prime Minister Joachim KYLEM DE TAMBELA (since 21 October 2022); note - transitional President TRAORE appointed KYLEM DE TAMBELA Prime Minister on 21 October 2022; the position had been vacant since 30 September 2022 when the military ousted former Prime Minister Albert OUEDRAOGO

cabinet: prior to the 2022 coups and adhoc suspension of laws and constitutional provisions, Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: prior to the 2022 coups and adhoc suspension of laws and constitutional provisions, president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 22 November 2020 (next were to be held by July 2024, but may be delayed by the transitional government due to security concerns); 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%

2015: Roch Marc Christian KABORE elected president in first round; percent of vote - Roch Marc Christian KABORE (MPP) 53.5%, Zephirin DIABRE (UPC) 29.6%, Tahirou BARRY (PAREN) 3.1%, Benewende Stanislas SANKARA (UNIR-MS) 2.8%, other 10.9%

Legislative branch

description: prior to the 2022 coups and adhoc suspension of laws and constitutional provisions, 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; members serve 5-year terms); 71-member Transitional Legislative Assembly (ALT) appointed by the military junta in 2022 indefinitely replaced the National Assembly

elections: last held on 22 November 2020 (next were to be held by July 2024 but may be delayed by the transitional government due to security concerns)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition as of March 2024 - men 59, women 12, percentage women 16.9%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Act Together [Kadre OUEDRAOGO]
African Democratic Rally/Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF/RDA [Gilbert Noel OUEDRAOGO]
Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Eddie KOMBOIGO]
Convergence for Progress and Solidarity-Generation 3 or CPS-G3
Movement for the Future Burkina Faso or MBF
National Convention for Progress or CNP
New Era for Democracy or NTD [Vincent DABILGOU]
Pan-African Alliance for Refoundation or APR
Party for Democracy and Socialism/Metba or PDS/Metba [Philippe OUEDRAOGO]
Party for Development and Change or PDC [Aziz SEREME]
Patriotic Rally for Integrity or RPI
Peoples Movement for Progress or MPP [Roch Marc Christian KABORE]
Progressives United for Renewal or PUR
Union for Progress and Reform or UPC [Zephirin DIABRE]
Union for Rebirth - Sankarist Party or UNIR-PS [Benewende Stanislas SANKARA]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Jean-Baptiste GAGRE (since 31 July 2023)

chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577

FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Eric WHITAKER (since January 2024)

embassy: Secteur 15, Ouaga 2000, Avenue Sembene Ousmane, Rue 15.873, Ouagadougou

mailing address: AmEmbassy Ouagadougou, Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC  20521-2440

telephone: (226) 25-49-53-00

FAX: (226) 25-49-56-23

email address and website:

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (2 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Ruins of Loropéni (c); Ancient Ferrous Metallurgy Sites (c); W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (n)


Economic overview

highly agrarian, low-income economy; limited natural resources; widespread poverty; terrorism disrupting potential economic activity; improving trade balance via increases in gold exports; economy inflating after prior deflation; growing public debt but still manageable

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$48.949 billion (2022 est.)
$48.093 billion (2021 est.)
$44.973 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 115

Real GDP growth rate

1.78% (2022 est.)
6.94% (2021 est.)
1.92% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 172

Real GDP per capita

$2,200 (2022 est.)
$2,200 (2021 est.)
$2,100 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 205

GDP (official exchange rate)

$18.82 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

14.29% (2022 est.)
3.65% (2021 est.)
1.88% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 185

Credit ratings

Standard & Poors rating: B (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 31% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.9% (2017 est.)

services: 44.9% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 198; industry 118; agriculture 16

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.)

Agricultural products

sorghum, maize, fruits, vegetables, millet, cowpeas, cotton, groundnuts, sugarcane, rice (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


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

Industrial production growth rate

-8.28% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 209

Labor force

8.328 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 63

Unemployment rate

5.07% (2022 est.)
5.36% (2021 est.)
5.15% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 102

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 7.7% (2021 est.)

male: 7.5%

female: 8%

comparison ranking: total 171

Population below poverty line

41.4% (2018 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

43 (2018 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 32

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 35.3% (2018 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


3.13% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.91% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.96% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $3.212 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $3.757 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 198

Public debt

55.74% of GDP (2021 est.)
73.39% of GDP (2020 est.)
47.06% of GDP (2019 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 88

Taxes and other revenues

15.98% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 132

Current account balance

$77.255 million (2021 est.)
$743.232 million (2020 est.)
-$523.837 million (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 59


$6.234 billion (2021 est.)
$5.356 billion (2020 est.)
$4.468 billion (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 129

Exports - partners

Switzerland 74%, UAE 7%, Mali 4%, Singapore 2%, Cote d'Ivoire 2% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

gold, cotton, oil seeds, coconuts/Brazil nuts/cashews, zinc ore (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$5.835 billion (2021 est.)
$4.779 billion (2020 est.)
$5.023 billion (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 142

Imports - partners

Cote d'Ivoire 16%, China 12%, Russia 7%, France 7%, Ghana 5% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, electricity, packaged medicine, plastic products, natural gas (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$49 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$50.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 191

Debt - external

$3.056 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.88 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
623.76 (2022 est.)
554.531 (2021 est.)
575.586 (2020 est.)
585.911 (2019 est.)
555.446 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 16 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 18.9% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 67.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 4.7% (2014)


installed generating capacity: 392,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,033,520,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 600 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 248 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 155; transmission/distribution losses 71; imports 83; exports 109; consumption 148

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 89.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 6.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 30,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 158

Refined petroleum products - imports

23,580 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

4.444 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 4.444 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 139

Energy consumption per capita

3.23 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 179


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 81,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 144

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 24.678 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 53

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Burkina Faso’s telecom sector in recent years has made some gains in providing the necessary infrastructure and bandwidth to support telecom services; an IXP completed in September 2020 increased international bandwidth capacity by a third, while in mid-2021 the government was able to start the second phase of a national fiber backbone project; this will link the capital city to an addition 145 municipalities, and provide additional connectivity to terrestrial cables in neighboring countries; the activities of the militants in side areas of the country jeopardize overall security, and render it difficult for the telcos to safeguard their networks and equipment; Burkina Faso joins G5 Sahel countries to eliminate roaming fees (2022)

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage nearly 112 per 100, with multiple providers there is competition and the hope for growth from a low base; Internet penetration is 16% (2021)

international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

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 users

total: 4.84 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 22% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 97

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 13,979 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 174


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 (2018) mt-km


49 (2024)

comparison ranking: 90


total: 622 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 622 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire

comparison ranking: total 107


total: 15,304 km (2017)

paved: 3,642 km (2014)

unpaved: 11,662 km (2014)

comparison ranking: total 123

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Burkina Faso (FABF; aka National Armed Forces (FAN), aka Defense and Security Forces (Forces de Défense et de Sécurité or FDS)): Army of Burkina Faso (L’Armee de Terre, LAT), Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso), National Gendarmerie, National Fire Brigade (Brigade Nationale de Sapeurs-Pompiers or BNSP); Homeland Defense Volunteers (Forcés de Volontaires de Défense pour la Patrie or VDP)

Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Security (Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale, de la Décentralisation et de la Sécurité): National Police (2023)

note 1: the National Gendarmerie officially reports to the Ministry of Defense, but usually operates in support of the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization, and Security; Gendarmerie troops are typically integrated with Army forces in anti-terrorism operations; specialized counterterrorism units include the Army's special forces, the Special Legion of the National Gendarmerie, and the Multipurpose Intervention Unit of National Police

note 2: the VDP is a lightly-armed civilian defense/militia force established in 2019 to act as auxiliaries to the Army in the fight against militants; the volunteers receive two weeks of training and typically assist with carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, and escort duties, as well as local defense, and were to be based in each of the country's more than 300 municipalities; in 2022, the military government created a "Patriotic Watch and Defense Brigade" (La Brigade de Veille et de Défense Patriotique or BVDP) under the FABF to coordinate the VDP recruits

Military expenditures

2.9% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 33

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 15,500 personnel (10,000 Army; 500 Air Force; 5,000 National Gendarmerie) (2023)

note: in 2022, government authorities announced a special recruitment for up to 6,000 additional soldiers and 1,500 gendarmes to assist with its fight against terrorist groups operating in the country; the government also put out a recruitment call for up to 100,000 VDP volunteers, and as of 2023 claimed about 50,000 had volunteered (the VDP's original recruited strength was 15,000)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FABF has a mix of older, secondhand, and some modern equipment from a variety of suppliers, including China, Egypt, France, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the US (2024)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (2023)

note: the military government implemented an emergency law in 2023 that allows the president extensive powers to combat terrorist groups operating in the country, including conscripting citizens into the security services

Military - note

the FABF has a history of interference in the country’s politics, having conducted eight coups since its formation in 1960-61, including the most recent in September of 2022; several combat units were disbanded in 2011 following mutinies; while the FABF is responsible for external defense, it has an internal security role and can be called out to assist internal security forces in restoring public order, combating crime, securing the border, and counterterrorism; indeed, for more than a decade, its focus has largely been counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and it is actively engaged in combat operations against terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), particularly in the northern and eastern regions; the FABF is struggling to contain the groups, however, and a large portion of the country—40% by some estimates—is not under government control

in the north, Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), a coalition of al-Qa'ida linked militant groups that act as al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Islamic Magreb's (AQIM) arm in the Sahel, has exploited ethnic tensions and perceptions of state neglect, as well as grievances over corruption, patronage politics, social stratification, and land disputes; in 2023, JNIM was active in 11 of the country's 13 provinces; the ISIS-Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) terrorist group operates in the eastern part of the country

the Army’s combat forces include a mix of approximately eight small (battalion-sized) infantry and combined arms regiments and up to six rapid reaction battalions (bataillon de réaction rapide or BIR), plus battalions of artillery and special forces; the Gendarmerie's primary mission is counterterrorism; it is comprised of “legions” and mobile squadrons, plus a Special Legion that fights organized crime and provides security for high-level officials and government institutions; the Air Force’s primary mission is providing support to the Army; it has small numbers of combat aircraft, combat helicopters, and armed UAVs acquired from Turkey (2023)


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Ansarul Islam; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS); al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun); Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM)

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 36,372 (Mali) (2023)


2,062,534 (2023)