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Occupying an extensive plateau with a geography characterized by a savanna that is grassy in the north and gradually gives way to sparse forests in the south, Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in Western Africa.
A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960. The name Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People,” was adopted in 1984. The capital, Ouagadougou, is in the centre of the country and lies about 500 miles (800 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Ouagadougou, the administrative capital and the seat of government, is a modern city where several companies have their headquarters. It is also the residence of the morho naba (“great lord”) of the Mossi and an important regional centre for international aid programs.
Burkina Faso is bordered by Mali to the north and west, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, and Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo to the south. The climate of Burkina Faso is generally sunny, hot, and dry.
Most of the population in Burkina Faso is located in the center and south. Nearly 31% of the population lives in cities. The capital and largest city is Ouagadougou (Ouaga), has a population of 1.8 million (2019).
French is the official language with native African languages belonging to the Sudanic family being spoken by 90% of the population.
Some of the ethnic groups which make up Burkina Faso include Mossi 52%, Fulani 8.4%, Gurma 7%, Bobo 4.9%, Gurunsi 4.6%, Senufo 4.5%, Bissa 3.7%, Lobi 2.4%, Dagara 2.4%, Tuareg/Bella 1.9%, Dioula 0.8%.
Muslim make up 61.5% of the population, Roman Catholic 23.3%, traditional/animist 7.8%, Protestant 6.5%.
The biggest airports in Burkina Faso are Ouagadougou Airport, officially Thomas Sankara International Airport Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso airport. Burkina (Air Burkina) is the national carrier and the largest airline in the country.
Cote d’Ivoire remains the top destination, although it has experienced periods of internal conflict. Under French colonization, Burkina Faso became a main labor source for agricultural and factory work in Cote d’Ivoire. Burkinabe also migrated to Ghana, Mali, and Senegal for work between the world wars. Burkina Faso attracts migrants from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Mali, who often share common ethnic backgrounds with the Burkinabe.