Ready to learn a few interesting facts about Burkina Faso?
Whether you’re thinking of visiting Burkina Faso in the near future or just want to understand more about this Western African country, this article is for you.
Here’s our roundup of the most interesting Burkina Faso facts:
1. Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in the western portion of Africa. It has borders with Mali, Togo, Benin, Niger, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. Prior to 1984, Burkina Faso was called Upper Volta, as it was located along the northern shores of the Volta River, a name given by the French (as Haute-Volta), as it was previously a colony of France.
2. Four main languages are used in Burkina Faso. French is the official language, as it was once a French colony, used in most governmental and administrative settings. There are three national languages, which are Mossi (Mòoré), Fula, and Dioula. Along with these languages, there are about 65 other languages spoken throughout Burkina Faso, most of which are indigenous to the land.
3. In 1984, President Thomas Sankara renamed the country to Burkina Faso (from Upper Volta). “Burkina” comes from the Mossi (Mòoré) language, the most spoken language in the country, meaning “upright” or “having integrity.” However, “Faso” comes from the Dioula language and means “fatherland.” Taken together, the country’s name means something along the lines of “Land of honest people.” The country’s official name, though, is the People’s Republic of Burkina (no Faso), so basically it means the “People’s Republic of Honest People.”
4. Someone from Burkina Faso is called Burkinabé. Burkinabé is the demonym for the people of Burkina Faso. If the last Burkina Faso fact wasn’t already confusing with the names, the suffix “-bé” in Burkinabé means “people,” or “men or women,” and it comes from the Fula language! However, because the suffix “-bé” means “men or women,” you could use a different demonym, Burkinese, for people or food from Burkina Faso, though many still use Burkinabé (ex. “Burkinabé cuisine”).
5. Burkina Faso is home to around 21.5 million people as of 2020. And, with a fertility rate of almost 5 children born per woman – one of the highest in the world – Burkina Faso is destined to grow exponentially in the coming decades.
6. Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and its largest city. Though it looks like a mouthful, you can pronounce it as wah-gah-DU-gu. With greater than 2.2 million people, it makes up more than 10% of the entire population of Burkina Faso.
Well, that’s all our Burkina Faso facts for now, and we hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other facts about Burkina Faso or the Burkinabé people we should include on our list? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!