Burkina Faso Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

Burkina Faso – Geography

Burkina Faso – Geography, Burkina Faso is an inland state with large transport distances through the southern neighboring countries to the nearest ports. The country is largely devoid of mountains, and only to the south it has rivers that are aquatic throughout the year. approximately 20% of the area is forest, but predation and recurring drought cause the forest area to be reduced. Forest conservation is an essential part of the government’s environmental policy, but the majority of the population has no alternative energy source for cooking.


There are over 50 ethnic groups in the country, most with their own language. Largest group is mossi, which make up more than half of the population. This group mainly inhabits the central, densely populated parts of the country. The second largest group is peul (or fulani), which constitutes approximately 10% of the population and especially the sparsely populated northern provinces. Other more important groups are bobo, gurunsi, bisa-samo, senufu, marka, diula and gurmantché, which in turn make up 7-4%. The country is divided into 30 provinces, partly bounded by ethnic lines.

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The Burkins live predominantly in the countryside. Only 18% live in the cities, the largest being the capital Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. In the cities, most men are applying for pay, while women and children are largely in the villages. Substantial relocation is taking place from north to south, and every sixth resident lives in a province other than the one in which he or she has grown up.

Child mortality is declining, but still among the highest in the world; population growth is around 3% a year and the average life expectancy is only 48 years.

The Burkinian Civil and Family Law of 1990 has sought to improve women’s conditions. Arranged marriages have been banned, so a marriage can be canceled if one of the parties complains to the authorities. Polygamy is allowed, but if no statement is made at the wedding that the marriage is considered polygamous, the husband cannot decide later on more wives.


Agriculture is by far the most important occupation in Burkina Faso, but the conditions for agricultural production vary widely from north to south and from year to year and only 13% of the land is cultivated. The climate is tropical everywhere with the highest temperatures (45 °C and more) before the rainy season. The rainfall starts at the earliest and is most abundant (1300 mm) in the southwestern regions and most often reaches in June to Gorom-Gorom, where the annual rainfall is 400 mm on average, but where the rain often does not appear. For the whole country, the average rainfall has fallen in the second half of the 1900’s. The northern areas are part of the Sahel Belt with semi-desert and dry savanna. The population lives scattered with animal husbandry and millet and sorghum are grown. In addition to millet, peanuts are also grown in the southern belt of savanna. Rice, maize, cotton and sugar cane are grown in the southernmost provinces with more than 1000 mm of rainfall. By building a very large number of small dams, there has been a strong growth in horticulture, which has been of great importance to the local nutrition and economy. Agriculture contributes 1/3 of GDP and a very large number of exports; the majority are live cattle, hides and cotton.

The subsoil is not rich in minerals; however, minor deposits of phosphate and gold are exploited and gold accounts for 25% of exports. The French monopoly in the mineral area was first broken with the upheaval in 1983, and with the democratization since then, there have been general liberalizations in the economy.

The industry employs only a few per cent. The sector is linked to agricultural products and has been state controlled. Textile and sugar mills are among the few major companies. Craft production of furniture has political vigilance; Every two years, a large handicraft fair is held in Ouagadougou, where textiles, bronzes, leather works, wood sculptures and furniture are exhibited.

The public sector is substantial and relatively well functioning. However, the health sector is insufficient and resources are very unevenly distributed with overweight facilities at Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. However, a large number of health clinics are evenly distributed in the country’s provinces, where they offer basic health care.

Infrastructure and tourism

The backbone of the transport network is a paved highway from Ivory Coast across Bobo Dioulasso and Ouagadougou to Niamey in Niger. From the road there are detours to the other neighboring countries and there is bus service from the capital to the larger cities. The road network has high priority in the country’s development plans. Bicycles and mopeds are very common; together with small motorcycles, they carry out a large part of the transport work of both people and goods. Donkey carts are an important local means of transport. The railroad from Ivory Coast to Ouagadougou is passed through to Kaya; it is the main route for cattle exports, and large parts of imports come this way.

Development assistance is substantial and comes mainly from France and the EU in general. Burkina Faso became one of the so-called main beneficiary countries for Danish development aid in 1993; Danish aid has mainly been focused on drinking water and electricity supply.

Tourism is growing, but still of limited importance. The aim is to create tourist facilities across the country, including in the animal sanctuaries in the south, Arly, Nazinga and Boromo, which contain antelopes, gazelles, warthogs, monkeys and elephants as well as individual lions and leopards.

Burkina Faso – language

Burkina Faso – language, The official language is French. The approximately 75 other languages ​​in the country belong to all Niger-Congo languages except the Afro-Asiatic Berber language tamasheq (Tuaregic) and the Nilo-Saharan songhai. Most important is the gur language moore, which is the first language for approximately 6 million (about half the population) and second language for another 2 million, but significant languages ​​are also diula, which is the first language for approximately 1.3 million and other languages ​​for 3-4 million, as well as fulani, spoken by approximately 750,000; bobo and bisa are spoken by each approximately 350,000. For culture and traditions of Burkina Faso, please check allunitconverters.

Burkina Faso Geography