Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Basics About Burkina

Location: West Africa, landlocked. Neighbors are Mali (north), Niger (east), and Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote dIvoire (south)

Population: 15,264,735 (2008 est.)

Capital: Ouagadougou

(Sapone, where I will be working is located almost due south of the capital)

Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, gained its independence from France in 1960 (the 5th of August), and is currently under the long presidency of President Blaise Compaore. It is slightly larger than Colorado, and of its 33 airports, 2 have paved runways. There are more cell phones than landlines.

It has a tropical climate with dry winters, and hot, wet summers. Current environmental issues include drought, desertification, overgrazing, soil degredation, and deforestation.

The infant mortality rate is around 86 per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy is around 53 years of age. Adult HIV-AIDS rate is around 4 percent and literacy is around 22 percent (for men: around 30 percent, for women: around 15 percent)

Unemployment was around 77 percent in 2004; it is a country with few natural resources and about 90 percent of the population is farming for their own livelihood.

About 50 percent of the population is Muslim, 40 percent indigenous beliefs; and around 10 percent Christian. The official language is French, though 90 percent of the population also speaks other native languages.

(Numbers from CIA World Fact Book)

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