Burkina Faso State Overview

By | November 9, 2021


In the 11th century, the Mossi people, under the leadership of Vedraogo, laid the foundations for the Empire of Moro de Naba, the embryo of present-day Burkina Faso. The powerful Mossi kingdom resisted repeated invasions by Arab forces and consolidated its political structure.

Later, the region was conquered by the French, who in 1919 created the Upper Volta colony. In 1932 Upper Volta was dismembered and divided between the former French colonies of Sudan, Niger and Ivory Coast. In 1947, it became part of the French West African territories.

In 1956, according to localcollegeexplorer, the two main political parties of the colony were merged into the Voltaic Democratic Union, which fought for the achievement of internal autonomy for this territory.

Upper Volta obtained independence in 1960, after the entry into force of the Constitution and the election by direct universal suffrage of the President of the Republic in March 1959. According to the first Constitution of the new State, Upper Volta was constituted as a republic and its president exercised power and was elected by the people, in whom sovereignty resided.

In 1962 there were various tensions between the government and Moro de Naba Kugri, emperor of the Mossi, who saw his powers reduced as well as the other chiefs of the tribes.

The first president, Maurice Yameogo, was deposed in 1966 by the Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Sangulé Lamizana. In 1970, after a new Constitution was approved, the most important characteristic of which was to separate the functions of head of state and the functions of head of government, general elections were held, which were won by Gérard Kango Quédraogo, who was appointed head of government. But in 1974, Lamizana decided to dissolve the Assembly and remove the government, and issued a new Constitution that abolished political parties and recognized the National Renewal Movement as the only legal group.

In 1978, President Lamizana announced a program of gradual political liberation. But, in 1980 the president was overthrown. Saye Zerbo held his place until 1982, when the military coup led by the medical commander Jean-Baptiste Quédraogo took place. A year later, former Prime Minister Thomas Sankara led a coup against Quédraogo. In this brief period (1983 – 1987), the Republic of Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso on August 4, 1984. In 1987 President Sankara was removed from office and executed in a coup led by Blaise Campoaré.


Burkina Faso occupies an undulating plateau that fertilizes the three upper arms of the Volta River, called White, Red and Black. It is bordered to the northwest by Mali, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast and Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coastto the south. It does not have an exit to the sea.

The most important cities are Ouagadougou, founded in the 15th century, which is the capital of Burkina Faso. It was also the capital of the Mossi kingdom, and the place where their king, Moro de Nada, lived; Bobo-Diulasso, to the southwest, which is now a thriving industrial hub, thanks to the Abidjan and Ouagadougou railway ; and Kudugu in the center, an area where cotton, tobacco and peanuts are produced.


The climate is sunny, dry and hot, with uneven and abundant rainfall in the south and much less in the north.

Flora and fauna

The southern tropical savanna region is made up of sparse forests and is only covered with grass in the rainy periods. During the winter months the harmattan blows, a dry wind coming from the Sahara. In the 1980s the anti-capitalist government started a plantation of more than ten million trees to put an end to the increasing desertification of the Sahel.

The fauna includes buffalo, antelope, lions, hippos, elephants, various varieties of chimpanzees and crocodiles. Insects include tsetse flies, which cause sleeping sickness, and simulium fly, which causes loss of vision. These insects, which are found in the vicinity of the arms of the Volta, make the settlement of the population almost impossible.


The majority of the population is rural and is made up of numerous ethnic groups, notably the Mossi. Despite the fact that French is still the official language of the State, there are many indigenous languages and dialects. The main languages are Dioula (spoken by the Mossi), the moré and gurmanché. The majority of the population remains animistic, although the groups that practice the Muslim religion are a high percentage of the population.

The Mossi, the predominant group, occupy the plains in the center of the country and live off agriculture. Currently, a high percentage of this ethnic group is forced to emigrate to the coffee and cocoa plantations of neighboring countries, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

To the southwest is another ethnic group: the bobos. It has a social structure based on clans and common ancestry. Like the Mossi, they are also farmers but more fortunate as they enjoy a rainy season. Their settlements usually constitute populations of considerable size. They usually live in the surroundings of Bobo-Diulasso, an agricultural center and hub of trade routes, very close to the Ivory Coast and Mali. In the east of the country, the wolves live from agriculture and hunting. In the northern part, are the Fulbe, semi – nomadic and other minority groups are the Senufo, the encores, the Tuaregs and hausas.


It is a State with few natural resources and with an economy based on agriculture, livestock and the exploitation of its modest deposits of manganese, gold and limestone.

It mainly exports to France, Taiwan, the Ivory Coast and Togo. Among the products it exports, disassembled cotton and various manufactured products stand out, as well as livestock and products derived from livestock.

It imports products from France, the Ivory Coast, the United States and Japan, especially petroleum derivatives, chemical products, machinery and transport and food equipment.

One tenth of its territory is arable and one third is dedicated to pasture land. The main crops are millet, sorghum, maize, cotton, groundnut, and rice.

Since the Sankara regime, an irrigation program was launched in the Sourou valley that was to cover 55,700 hectares. This program was continued after the end of his government, including studies of new projects.

Since August of 1984 they were nationalized mineral deposits and abolished the traditional system of property and in 1988 the government announced its intention to exploit the mineral potential of the country.

Burkina Faso State Overview