20 facts about Burkina Faso

January 03, 2013


Jambo! That’s hello in the Mòoré dialect. We here at ACEI wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that you had a nice holiday break. We’d like to start 2013 with a blog focusing on the landlocked West African nation of Burkina Faso. We have to give thanks to our friend Kathleen Hylen with ELS Language Centers (http://www.els.edu/en) who picked Burkina Faso for our fact finding mission.

1. Capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou. Written as “Wogodogo” in the Mòoré dialect, it literally means “You are welcome here at home with us”.

2. It is located south of the Sahara Desert.

3. It was formerly known as Upper Volta, and adopted its current name after it gained its independence from France August 5, 1960.

4. The official language is French, since Burkina Faso was colonized by France. Other languages spoken include Mòoré, Gourma, Fulfulde, Dioula, Tamasheq.

5. Nationality: Burkinabe.

6. Burkina Faso has a population of 16.3 million.

7. The Mossi is the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso.

8. Want to speak a little Mòoré? “Yam Kibaré?” (How are you?) And your response: “Laafi Bala, La Yamba?” (I am fine and you?)

9. Gold is Burkina Faso’s main export, followed by cotton and animal products. Burkina Faso is Africa’s largest producer of cotton. In 2010, almost 80% of the cotton planted in Burkina Faso was grown from genetically modified seeds. Burkina is second only to South Africa as Africa’s largest producer of biotech crops (100% of it cotton), and had the world’s second-fastest growing acreage of biotech crops after Australia. The Monsanto Company remains a major partner in this endeavor. (Source: U.S. Department of State http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/burkinafaso/201466.htm)

10. Limited Brands/Victoria’s Secret is looking to expand the quantity, and improve the quality and value, of organic cotton it has imported from Burkina since 2009 (currently only 1% of the market), as well as to improve significantly the livelihoods of the primarily women farmers. (This is interesting, given the information noted in #9.)

11. Most food in Burkina Faso comes with sauce. Staple foods are sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, bean, yams and okra.

12. About 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture.

13. Popular sports in Burkina Faso are: soccer, handball, cycling, basketball and boxing.

14. Burkina Faso is home to 60 different ethnic groups, each with their own variety of folk music.

15. Burkina Faso is a leader in African art and culture and hosts the largest craft market in Africa.

16. The Bobo, one of the ethnic groups in Burkina Faso make large butterfly masks, painted in stripes of red, white and black which are used to invoke the deity Do in fertility ceremonies. The Mossi are known for their antelope masks. The Lobi carve wood.

17. 60% of the population is Muslim, while 19% is Catholic, 15% are Animists, and 5% are Protestants.

18. Burkina Faso is prone to severe droughts. Burkina Faso suffered droughts in the early 1970s and the early 1980s.

19. The school week runs from Monday through Saturday. Schooling is in theory free and compulsory until the age of 16. According to UNICEF, only 81% of students reach the 5th grade.

20. The University of Ouagadougou founded in 1974, was the country’s first institution of higher education. The Polytechnic University in Bobo-Diolasso was opened in 1995. The University of Koudougou was founded in 2005, replacing the former “Ecole Normal Superieur de Koudougou.”

Barka! (Thank you.)

For more information on Burkina Faso and aid, please visit these sites: https://secure.oxfamamerica.org/site/SPageNavigator/donate_sahel_food_crisis.html?gclid=CNrSrPLczLQCFSTZQgodRmkA6w



Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.


Filed under Human Interest, Politics, Travel

11 responses to “20 facts about Burkina Faso

  1. Not sure where you got the ‘info’ was Moore for ‘hello’! This is incorrect information. Normally greetings are given according the time of the day. AG Kompaore, in Burkina Faso

  2. Sorry, I was not clear in the last comment: Jambo is NOT a Moore word.

  3. Jeanne Rempel

    Jambo is not Moore. Try Yamb Kibare. Before independence it was a part of French West Africa, and had not separate name, until 1906 independence.

    “Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara, using a word from each of the country’s two major native languages, Mòoré and Dioula. Figuratively, “Burkina”, from Mòoré, may be translated as “men of integrity”, while “Faso” means “fatherland” in Dioula. “Burkino Faso” is thus meant to be understood as “Land of upright people” or “Land of honest people”. Inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè (pron.: /bərˈkiːnəbeɪ/ bər-KEE-nə-bay)”

    from Wikipedia and confirmed by long time friends/BF citizens in Ouagadougou.

    • Jeanne Rempel

      And actually, Yamb Kibare is more like “How are you?”. In Burkina, there is a greeting for the time of the day, “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” etc., followed by “How are you?” and then asking how the family is, and specific people in the family, if they are known by name. It is a lengthy and beautiful ritual.

  4. Pingback: 40 Years, 40 Countries | Ayuda 40 Years and Counting

  5. Pingback: Gold, Burkina Faso’s main export | Burkina Faso

  6. Reblogged this on teddyleting and commented:
    20 facts about Burkina Faso that you need to know

  7. george sunday eritemu

    i think i will lik to come and see how the place look like. some day thanks. god bless burkina faso more.

  8. Thanks for the info I was doing some reaserch anyway 🙂

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