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Country Profile

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, previously known as Upper Volta, is a landlocked, developing country in the Sahel region of West Africa.  Its capital is Ouagadougou.  Burkina Faso is a former French colony; the official language is French.  It is one of the world’s poorest countries, and tourism infrastructure is limited.   Please read the Department of State Background Notes on Burkina Faso for additional information.

Burkina Faso


Image of Burkina Faso
Country Name: Burkina Faso
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Ouagadougou
Boundary Countries:

Benin 306 km, Cote d'Ivoire 584 km, Ghana 549 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km.

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Yalgado Ouedraogo (Ouagadougou), Clinique Moussa Kone (Ouagadougou), Centre Hospitalier National Sanou Souro (Bobo Dioulasso).

Main Cities:

Fada-Ngourma, Tenkodogo, Kaya, Dédougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Banfora, Ouahigouya, Koudougou.

Country Size: 274,200 sq km
Population: 14,326,203



French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population.

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Predominant Religions:

Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%.

National Holidays: Republic Day, 11 December (1958)
Economic Status:

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.


Army, Air Force of Burkina Faso (Force Aerienne de Burkina Faso), National Gendarmerie.

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
American Embassy
secteur 15, Ouaga 2000
Rue 15.873
Phone: (226) 25-49-53-00
E-mail: amembouaga@state.gov

Document Requirements:

A valid passport, visa, and evidence of yellow-fever vaccination are required for entry into the country.  Visas valid for seven days are available at land borders and for 21 days at the airport; however, both can be converted into visas of up to five years validity at the Direction du Controle des Migrations, a government office in central Ouagadougou.  U.S. travelers should obtain longer-validity visas from the Embassy of Burkina Faso, 2340 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC   20008, telephone (202) 332-5577.  Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Burkinabe embassy or consulate.  Visit the Embassy of Burkina Faso web site at http://www.burkinaembassy-usa.org/ for the most current visa information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports: 34, Airports w/paved runways: 2

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

There have been no known terrorist incidents (bombings, hijackings or kidnappings) directed against foreigners in Burkina Faso, but U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political gatherings, and street demonstrations, even if they appear to be peaceful. Street crime in Burkina Faso poses high risks for visitors. There continue to be frequent armed robberies and attacks on intercity roads throughout the country.
Public transportation is not safe.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 89.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 49.21 years (male 47.68/female 50.8)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, MMR booster

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria is a high risk in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities and emergency hospital care are very limited, particularly in areas outside the capital, Ouagadougou. Some medicines are, however, available through local pharmacies.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 2
Referrals: 9
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

In the 2009 CDC Measles Update, mention is made of the recent increase in cases reported in Burkina Faso.  This information is available at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/content/in-the-news/measles.aspx.
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified among birds in this country or surrounding region; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2007).

Communications Info:

Country Code:  +226   -  Internet Code:   .bf


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