Information about Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Current President Blaise COMPAORE came to power in a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then. There have been increasing protests over the belief that the president may try to run for a currently unconstitutional third term in the 2015 presidential elections. Burkina Faso's high population growth and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.
Burkina Faso's economy
Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that depends on adequate rainfall. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture and cotton is the main cash crop. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. Cotton and gold are key exports. Since 1998, Burkina Faso has begun to privatize state-owned enterprises and in 2004 revised its investment code to attract foreign investment. As a result, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and export. The Burkinabe economy experienced high levels of growth over the last few years but growth is highly dependent on swings in gold and cotton prices. In 2013 Burkina Faso experienced a number of public protests over the cost of living, corruption, and other socioeconomic issues. To defuse tensions the government has offered higher housing bonuses, reduced income taxes, and price controls. Turmoil in neighboring Mali, unreliable energy supplies, and poor transportation links pose longer-term challenges.
Issues in Burkina Faso
adding to illicit cross-border activities, Burkina Faso has issues concerning unresolved boundary alignments with its neighbors; demarcation is currently underway with Mali, the dispute with Niger was referred to the ICJ in 2010, and a dispute over several villages with Benin persists; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso around the town of Koualou
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin):
32,170 (Mali) (2014)