The country

On the desert banks you find the land of honourable people. About Burkina Faso.


Burkina Faso express
Ethnic groups
Burkina in Belgium

Burkina Faso express

CAPITAL: Ouagadougou (or simply 'Waga')
POPULATION: about 12 millions
SURFACE: 274 122 km²


HEAD OF STATE: president Blaise Compaoré
LANGUAGE: the official language is French, while Mooré is the most important local tongue
LITERACY: 21 %: 14 % for women and 25 % for men(1999)
HDI: 159 (on 161 countries)
RELIGION: animism, islam, christianity
ARGENT: West African Franc (CFA);
100 CFA equal 6 old Belgian francs (or for the youth: 1 euro = 656 CFA)
TIME: we live in the 'universal time zone' (GMT): in Summer we are 2 hours ahead on Belgium, in Winter 1 hour, in reality we think we're ahead by a century.

Burkina Faso in numbers

Terrestrial borders: 3 192 km (Mali 1 000 km ; Niger 628 km ; Côte d'Ivoire 584 km ; Ghana 548 km ; Benin 306 km ; Togo 126 km)
Coast : 0 km
Height extremities: + 200 m > + 749 m

Life expectancy for men: 46 years (in 2001)
Life expectancy for women: 47 years (in 2001)
Population growth rate: 2,68% (in 2001)
Birth rate: 44,79 ‰ (in 2001)
Mortality: 17,05 ‰ (in 2001)
Child mortality: 106,92 ‰ (in 2001)
Reproduction: 6,7 children/woman (in 2004)
Migration rate: - 0,97 ‰ (in 2001)

Telephone lines: 36 000 (in 1997)
Mobile telephones: 200 000 (in 2005)
Radio posts: 370 000 (in 1997)
Television posts: 2 000 000 (in 2005)
Internet users: 20 000 (in 2005)
Internet providers: 10 (in 2006)

Roads: 12 506 km (of which 2.001 km is asphalted) (in 1996)
Railways: 622 km
Waterways: 0 km
Number of airports: 33 (of which 2 have asphalted airstrips) (in 2000)


The North of Burkina is part of the Sahel: semi desert zone South of the Sahara.


As 'speaking Mooré makes life more olé', we propose you to study the following expressions:

  • Thanks: Barka
  • How are you?: Kibaré
  • I am fine: Laafí
  • Good morning: Né y yíbeoogó (until 11 am)
  • Hello (at noon): Né y wíndgá
  • Good afternoon/evening: Né y zàábrè (after 3 pm)
  • Good night: Né y yungó (after 7 pm)
  • White person: Nasáará


The national dish is tô, a substantial and heavy kind of puree made of millet, sorghum or maize flour.

Tô is mostly eaten with sauce of okra (gombo, as they call it here). These okras secrete a slimy substance that continues to exist in the sauce. Apparently those gombos also disinfect, as one day, when a big bad beast stung Heleen right near her eye, the first aid administrated was a glass of water and okra slime.

Rice belongs to the daily food, especially in town. A deep plate is filled generously with white rice, and is accompanied by a bowl of sauce. You have the choice between tomato sauce (picture) and peanut sauce. Sometimes you can also choose between peanut sauce and tomato sauce. Animals are being eaten too: goats, sheep, pigs, chicken and fowls. Since more than ten years, people started growing potatoes in this region. In town, you can even find places where they serve chips (not French but Belgian fries :). Yes, with salt and mayonnaise!

Etnic groups of Burkina Faso

The most important:

  • Mossi (52 %)
  • Peul (10 %)
  • Bobo (7 %)
  • Sénoufo (6 %)
  • Gourounsi and Kasséna (5 %)

This map shows the original living areas of the different groups. Today it is more a hodgepodge

Burkina in Belgium, or Belgium in Burkina

The Burkina Embassy in Brussels is worth a visite: the Place Guy d'Arezzo in Uccle is one of the meeting places for exotic budgerigars: their enormous nests are to be admired in front of the embassy. (we wonder why those parakeets don't go and live near the Finnish embassy...)