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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 neighbouring countries.
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 (July 2008 est.)
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.)
conventional short form: Burkina Faso
local long form: none
local short form: Burkina Faso
former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2012)
One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso 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 and the government has joined with three other cotton producing countries in the region – Mali, Niger, and Chad – to lobby in the World Trade Organization for fewer subsidies to producers in other competing countries.
Two villages remain in dispute along the border with Benin; Benin accuses Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars; in recent years citizens and rogue security forces rob and harass local populations on both sides of the poorly-defined Burkina Faso-Niger border; despite the presence of over 9,000 UN forces (UNOCI) in Cote d’Ivoire since 2004, ethnic conflict continues to spread into neighbouring states who can no longer send their migrant workers to work in Ivorian cocoa plantations
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