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Burkina Faso: savannas, crafts and traditions

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Burkina Faso is a semi-presidential republic in West Africa, which has Ouagadougou as its capital. This former French colony is bordered to the north and west by Mali, to the east by Niger, to the south by Benin, Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The territory of Burkina Faso consists of a plateau with an average height of 400 metres. In some areas a few isolated peaks – Inselberge – are to be found. Only in the south-west in the Banfora massif some higher elevations are situated, the highest hill of the country being Téna Kourou with 749 metres.

The southern area of the country offers forests and cultivated areas. The central area is mainly savannah, while the northern part is semi-desert, the so-called Sahel, being the preliminary stage to full desert. The main rivers of the country are the Mouhoun (Black Volta), the Nakambé (White Volta) and the Nazinon (Red Volta). To the east shorter rivers are flowing, belonging to the Niger river basin, including the Béli, the Gorouol, the Goudébo and the Dargol.


Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries of the world, the main problem being the severe drought, leading to rapid desertification of the territory’s soil. The situation is still aggravated by the fact that Burkina Faso is a landlocked country, having no direct access to the sea. Agriculture remains the main economic sector of the country. It is practiced primarily in the southern and western parts of the country. There are grown: sorghum, millet, maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, potatoes, sugar cane, cotton, tomatoes, sesame, tobacco, karité, peanuts and rice.

Important is nomadic breeding of cattle, sheep and goats. The forests are intensely exploited, leading to an ever increasing scarcity of firewood. There are deposits of manganese, gold, uranium, vanadium, diamonds, zinc, bauxite, lead, nickel and phosphates.

The climate of Burkina Faso.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster.

  • Area: 274,200 sq km: arable land 13%, pastures 21,9%, forests and bushland 50,9%, uncultivated and unproductive land 14,2%
  • Population: 20,100,000 (as of 2017): Mossi 48%, Fulbe 10%, Lobi 7%, Bobo 7%, Mandingo 7%, Senufo 6%, Gurunsi and Fulani.
  • State Capital: Ouagadougou.
  • Official Language: The official language is French. Additionally several African languages are spoken: Peul, Malinké, Dioula (Jula), Senufo.
  • Religion: indigenous beliefs 60%, Muslims 30%, Christians 10%.
  • Currency: CFA Franc (XOF)
  • Time Zone: UTC.

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