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Africa :: Burkina Faso
page last updated on October 21, 2011
Flag of Burkina Faso
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Location of Burkina Faso
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Introduction ::Burkina Faso
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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. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.
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Geography ::Burkina Faso
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Western Africa, north of Ghana
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13 00 N, 2 00 W
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total: 274,200 sq km
country comparison to the world: 75
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km
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slightly larger than Colorado
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total: 3,193 km
border countries: Benin 306 km, Cote d'Ivoire 584 km, Ghana 549 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km
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0 km (landlocked)
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none (landlocked)
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tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers
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mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast
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lowest point: Mouhoun (Black Volta) River 200 m
highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m
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manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt
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arable land: 17.66%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 82.12% (2005)
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300 sq km (2008)
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17.5 cu km (2001)
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total: 0.8 cu km/yr (13%/1%/86%)
per capita: 60 cu m/yr (2000)
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recurring droughts
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recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas
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People and Society ::Burkina Faso
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noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe
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Mossi over 40%, other approximately 60% (includes Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani)
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French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
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Muslim 60.5%, Catholic 19%, animist 15.3%, Protestant 4.2%, other 0.6%, none 0.4%
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16,751,455 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
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0-14 years: 45.8% (male 3,849,350/female 3,828,483)
15-64 years: 51.7% (male 4,320,779/female 4,334,197)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 162,157/female 256,489) (2011 est.)
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total: 16.9 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 17.1 years (2011 est.)
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3.085% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
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43.59 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
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12.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
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urban population: 26% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 6.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
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OUAGADOUGOU (capital) 1.777 million (2009)
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
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560 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 21
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total: 81.4 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 11
male: 88.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 73.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
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total population: 53.7 years
country comparison to the world: 201
male: 51.75 years
female: 55.71 years (2011 est.)
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6.14 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
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6.4% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 96
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0.064 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
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0.9 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 151
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improved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 72% of population
total: 76% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5% of population
rural: 28% of population
total: 24% of population (2008)
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improved:
urban: 33% of population
rural: 6% of population
total: 11% of population
unimproved:
urban: 67% of population
rural: 94% of population
total: 89% of population (2008)
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1.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
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110,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
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7,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
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37.4% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 8
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4.6% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 75
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 21.8%
male: 29.4%
female: 15.2% (2003 est.)
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total: 6 years
male: 7 years
female: 6 years (2009)
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Government ::Burkina Faso
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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
local long form: none
local short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
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parliamentary republic
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name: Ouagadougou
geographic coordinates: 12 22 N, 1 31 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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45 provinces; Bale, Bam, Banwa, Bazega, Bougouriba, Boulgou, Boulkiemde, Comoe, Ganzourgou, Gnagna, Gourma, Houet, Ioba, Kadiogo, Kenedougou, Komondjari, Kompienga, Kossi, Koulpelogo, Kouritenga, Kourweogo, Leraba, Loroum, Mouhoun, Nahouri, Namentenga, Nayala, Noumbiel, Oubritenga, Oudalan, Passore, Poni, Sanguie, Sanmatenga, Seno, Sissili, Soum, Sourou, Tapoa, Tuy, Yagha, Yatenga, Ziro, Zondoma, Zoundweogo
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5 August 1960 (from France)
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Republic Day, 11 December (1958); note - commemorates the day that Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French Community
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approved by referendum 2 June 1991; formally adopted 11 June 1991; last amended January 2002
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civil law based on the French model and customary law
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Blaise COMPAORE (since 15 October 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe TIAO (since 18 April 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
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elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 November 2010 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature
election results: Blaise COMPAORE reelected president; percent of popular vote - Blaise COMPAORE 80.2%, Hama Arba DIALLO 8.2%, Benewende Stanislas SANKARA 6.3%, other 5.3%
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unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (111 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly election last held on 6 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDP 73, ADF-RDA 14, UPR 5, UNIR-MS 4, CFD-B 3, UPS 2, PDP-PS 2, RDB 2, PDS 2, PAREN 1, PAI 1, RPC 1, UDPS 1
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Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation; Council of State or Conseil d'Etat; Court of Accounts or la Cour des Comptes; Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel
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African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation or ADF-RDA [Gilbert OUEDRAOGO]; Citizen's Popular Rally or RPC [Antoine QUARE]; Coalition of Democratic Forces of Burkina or CFD-B [Amadou Diemdioda DICKO]; Congress for Democracy and Progress or CDP [Roch Marc-Christian KABORE]; Democratic and Popular Rally or RDP [Nana THIBAUT]; Movement for Tolerance and Progress or MTP [Nayabtigungou Congo KABORE]; Party for African Independence or PAI [Soumane TOURE]; Party for Democracy and Progress-Socialist Party or PDP-PS [Ali LANKOANDE]; Party for Democracy and Socialism or PDS [Felix SOUBEIGA]; Party for National Rebirth or PAREN [Jeanne TRAORE]; Rally for the Development of Burkina or RDB [Antoine KARGOUGOU]; Rally of Ecologists of Burkina Faso or RDEB [Ram OUEDRAGO]; Republican Party for Integration and Solidarity or PARIS; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Fidele HIEN]; Union for Rebirth - Sankarist Movement or UNIR-MS [Benewende STANISLAS]; Union for the Republic or UPR [Toussaint Abel COULIBALY]; Union of Sankarist Parties or UPS [Ernest Nongma OUEDRAOGO]
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Burkinabe General Confederation of Labor or CGTB [Tole SAGNON]; Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights or MBDHP [Chrysigone ZOUGMORE]; Group of 14 February [Benewende STANISLAS]; National Confederation of Burkinabe Workers or CNTB [Laurent OUEDRAOGO]; National Organization of Free Unions or ONSL [Paul KABORE]
other: watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities
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ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Seydou BOUDA
chancery: 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-5577
FAX: [1] (202) 667-1882
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chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas DOUGHERTY
embassy: 602 Avenue Raoul Follereau, Koulouba, Secteur 4
mailing address: 01 B. P. 35, Ouagadougou 01; pouch mail - US Department of State, 2440 Ouagadougou Place, Washington, DC 20521-2440
telephone: [226] 50-30-67-23
FAX: [226] 50-30-38-90
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two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a yellow five-pointed star in the center; red recalls the country's struggle for independence, green is for hope and abundance, and yellow represents the country's mineral wealth
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
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white stallion
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name: "Le Ditanye" (Anthem of Victory)
lyrics/music: Thomas SANKARA
note: adopted 1974; also known as "Une Seule Nuit" (One Single Night), Burkina Faso's anthem was written by the country's president, an avid guitar player
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Economy ::Burkina Faso
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Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that relies heavily on cotton and gold exports for revenue. The country has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop. Since 1998, Burkina Faso has embarked upon a gradual privatization of state-owned enterprises and in 2004 revised its investment code to attract foreign investment. As a result of this new code and other legislation favoring the mining sector, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration and production. By 2010, gold had become the main source of export revenue.
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$19.99 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
$18.9 billion (2009 est.)
$18.3 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
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$8.781 billion (2010 est.)
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5.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
3.2% (2009 est.)
5.2% (2008 est.)
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$1,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
$1,200 (2009 est.)
$1,200 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
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agriculture: 34.2%
industry: 23.1%
services: 42.8% (2010 est.)
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6.668 million
country comparison to the world: 64
note: a large part of the male labor force migrates annually to neighboring countries for seasonal employment (2007)
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agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000 est.)
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77% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 196
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46.4% (2004)
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lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2004)
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39.5 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 64
48.2 (1994)
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20% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
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revenues: $1.899 billion
expenditures: $2.413 billion (2010 est.)
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21.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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-5.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
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-0.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
2.6% (2009 est.)
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4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
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NA%
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$1.281 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
$1.351 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
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$2.306 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$2.302 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
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$1.142 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$1.282 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
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$NA
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cotton, peanuts, shea nuts, sesame, sorghum, millet, corn, rice; livestock
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cotton lint, beverages, agricultural processing, soap, cigarettes, textiles, gold
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5.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
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664.4 million kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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683.5 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
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144.6 million kWh (2009 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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9,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
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8,560 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
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-$317.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
-$398.2 million (2009 est.)
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$1.269 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
$869.5 million (2009 est.)
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cotton, livestock, gold
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China 17.3%, Belgium 11.6%, Singapore 9.3%, Indonesia 7.6%, Turkey 6.4%, Thailand 4.8%, Japan 4.2% (2010)
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$1.58 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
$1.347 billion (2009 est.)
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capital goods, foodstuffs, petroleum
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Cote dIvoire 26.1%, France 16%, Togo 5.3%, Ghana 4.7% (2010)
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$1.02 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
$1.296 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
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$2.032 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
$1.782 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
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Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)
493.51 (2007)
522.59 (2006)
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Communications ::Burkina Faso
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167,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 133
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3.299 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 109
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general assessment: system includes microwave radio relay, open-wire, and radiotelephone communication stations; in 2006 the government sold a 51 percent stake in the national telephone company and ultimately plans to retain only a 23 percent stake in the company
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, fostered by multiple providers, is increasing rapidly from a low base
international: country code - 226; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
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2 TV stations - 1 state-owned and 1 privately-owned; state-owned radio runs a national and regional network; substantial number of privately-owned radio broadcast stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters available in Ouagadougou (2007)
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.bf
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1,877 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 155
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178,100 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 144
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Transportation ::Burkina Faso
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24 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 132
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total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
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total: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 6 (2010)
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total: 622 km
country comparison to the world: 106
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2010)
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total: 92,495 km
country comparison to the world: 51
paved: 3,857 km
unpaved: 88,638 km (2004)
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Military ::Burkina Faso
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Army, Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso, FABF), National Gendarmerie (2011)
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in supporting roles (2011)
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males age 16-49: 3,735,735 (2010 est.)
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males age 16-49: 2,366,168
females age 16-49: 2,367,673 (2010 est.)
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male: 193,905
female: 191,662 (2010 est.)
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1.2% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 119
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Transnational Issues ::Burkina Faso
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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
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