The People's Republic of Burkina Faso (or Burkina Faso for short) is a landlocked West African country just at the north of Ghana. Burkina Faso also borders the Republic of Ivory Coast to the southwest, the Republic of Benin to the southeast, the Republic of Mali to the north and the People's Republic of Togo to the south.
Burkina Faso has a total land area of about 274,200sq.km and a total population of about 18.5 million people with the population growth rate around 3.1%. About 30% of the total population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Ouagadougou the capital. Ouagadougou the capital of Burkina Faso contains about 2 million people. Burkina Faso is cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas.
Islam remains the most dominant religion in Burkina Faso today with about 61% of the total population being Muslims. Christians including Catholics and Protestants form just about 25% of the total population. Traditional believers, Animists, and the other minor religious groups make up the remaining population. Burkina Faso is a diverse community with several ethnic and racial groups living together. Mossi the most dominant ethnic group make up about 40% of the population. The Gurunsi, the Senufo, the Lobi, the Bobo, the Mande, the Fulani, and the several other minor ethnic groups together make up the remaining 60% of the population. Although French remains the official language, several native African languages are written and spoken in Burkina Faso today.
Burkina Faso just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, phosphates, manganese, limestone, marble, etc.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources, Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest countries in the world today with almost all of its population living below poverty line. Unemployment rate in Burkina Faso today hovers around 65%. About 80% of the total population lives below poverty line. In other words, the majority of people in Burkina Faso today live on less than $1.25 a day.
Burkina Faso has HIV/AIDS adults prevalence rate of 1%. Although this prevalence rate is far better than in countries like South Africa, officially about 115,000 people were living with the disease in 2012 with about 5,500 deaths recorded within the same year. In reality however, more than 8000 people die from HIV/AIDS in Burkina Faso each and every year. Other killer diseases such as malaria continue to tear people apart in this part of the world.
Droughts and desertification have severe effects in this part of the world severely affecting agricultural activities. Other factors such as overpopulation, overgrazing of farm animals, deforestation, etc. continue to fuel soil degradation and environmental deterioration, all of which affect agricultural activities in Burkina Faso today leaving many in absolute poverty. Poverty is worse especially in the rural areas where majority of the population live.
Burkina Faso has the lowest literacy rate in the world. Burkina Faso has a literacy rate of about 20% which means only about 20% of the total population above age 15 can read and write which is very bad. The female literacy rate is even worse. This worst literacy rate also explains the high teenage pregnancy rates and the extremely high levels of poverty in Burkina Faso today.
Lack of Good drinking water and water for domestic purposes remains another major problem in Burkina Faso today. Water is very scarce in Burkina Faso due to the recurring droughts and desertification in this part of the world. Women and children walk miles upon miles just to fetch water sometimes with heavy loads on their heads.
Corruption levels remain at all time high in Burkina Faso today. Almost all Government officials and people of power in Burkina Faso today engage themselves in corrupt activies in one way or the other leaving the average guy on the street with nothing but absolute poverty and despair. Government officials receive pay increase and allowances every now and then while children of school-going age remain at home sometimes hawking on the streets of major cities and towns such as Bobo-Dioulasso (the second largest town in Burkina Faso), Ouagadougou the capital, Ouahigouya, etc. just to support their poor dying families. Even the very few lucky ones who get the chance to go to school, read from nothing. There is a severe Lack of text books and good teachers in almost all the public schools across the country.