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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Current President Blaise COMPAORE came to power in a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked burkina faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. about 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. cotton is the main cash crop and the government has joined with three other cotton producing countries in the region - mali, niger, and chad - to lobby in the world trade organization for fewer subsidies to producers in other competing countries. since 1998, burkina faso has embarked upon a gradual but successful privatization of state-owned enterprises. having revised its investment code in 2004, burkina faso hopes to attract foreign investors. thanks to this new code and other legislation favoring the mining sector, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration and production. while the bitter internal crisis in neighboring cote d'ivoire is beginning to be resolved, it is still having a negative effect on burkina faso's trade and employment. in 2007 higher costs for energy and imported foodstuffs, as well as low cotton prices, dampened a gdp growth rate that had averaged 6% in the last 10 years. burkina faso received a millennium challenge account threshold grant to improve girls' education at the primary school level, and appears likely to receive a grant in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, and land reform.

Environmental Issues

Recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation

Government Type

Parliamentary republic


15,264,735 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to aids; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (july 2008 est.)


Western africa, north of ghana


Total: 274,200 sq km land: 273,800 sq km water: 400 sq km

Slightly larger than colorado

Country Aliases

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


Name: ouagadougou geographic coordinates: 12 22 n, 1 31 w time difference: utc 0 (5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18 years of age for compulsory military service; 20 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)

International Disputes

In september 2007, economic community of west african states (ecowas) intervened to attempt to resolve the dispute over two villages along the benin-burkina faso border that remain from 2005 icj decision; in recent years citizens and rogue security forces rob and harass local populations on both sides of the poorly-defined burkina faso-niger border; despite the presence of over 9,000 un forces (unoci) in cote d'ivoire since 2004, ethnic conflict continues to spread into neighboring states who can no longer send their migrant workers to work in ivorian cocoa plantations

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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