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about Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation of western Africa. It is surrounded by six countries. Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the south east, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Côte d'Ivoire to the south west.

Formerly called Upper Volta, it was renamed on August 4, 1984 by President Thomas Sankara to mean "the land of upright people" (or "upright land") in Mossi and Dyula, the major native languages of the country. Independence from France came in 1960. Governmental instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Several hundred thousand farm workers migrate south every year to Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are called Burkinabé. The capital is Ouagadougou, referred to by locals as "Waga."

Burkina Faso geography

Burkina Faso is made up of two major types of countryside:

  • The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a precambrian massif.
  • The south-west of the country forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak is found: Ténakourou (749m, 2,450 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150m (490 ft) high.


The country owed its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: le Mouhoun (formerly called the Black Volta), le Nakambé (the White Volta) and le Nazinon (the Red Volta). Le Mouhoun, along with la Comoé which flows to the south west, is the country's only river which flows year-round.

The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country's surface. Its tributaries (le Béli, le Gorouol, le Goudébo and le Dargol) are seasonal streams, and only flow for 4 to 6 months a year but can cause large floods.

The country also contains numerous lakes. The principal lakes are Tingrela, Bam and Dem, and the large ponds of Oursi, Béli, Yomboli and Markoye.

Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the county.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Burkina Faso".

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