Your guide to being an expatriate in Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso, originally known as Upper Volta, is a country situated in the heart of West Africa. It is a landlocked country, which shares borders with six other nations. Following independence from France in 1960, it was renamed Burkina Faso, which translates to 'the Land of the Honest Men'. The country is steeped in rich cultures and traditions, characterized by its colorful festivals, mouth-watering cuisine, intriguing art, and authentic music. French is the country's official language, although Moore, Gourmantche, and Fulfulde, among others, are also spoken by various ethnic groups.

Burkina Faso

Expat destinations in Burkina Faso

Demographics of Burkina Faso:

Ethnic groups

  • Moor
  • Fulani
  • Gourma
  • Lobi
  • Dyula
  • Bissa
  • Sanwi
  • Gourmantche
  • Senufo
  • Bissa Gourmantche
  • Gurma
  • Bissa-Sanwi
  • Dyula-Bissa
  • Dyula-Sanwi
  • Latukunu
  • Gourmantche-Naziene
  • Mande (Bissa-Mandè)


  • French
  • Moore
  • Gourmantche
  • Fulfulde
  • Loba
  • Dioula
  • Bissa
  • Gurma
  • Gurma-Naziné
  • Laténki
  • Gurma-Laténki
  • Naziné-Gurma
  • Gurma-Naziné
  • Sénoufo-Bissiwasa
  • Dogon
  • Gurma-Sénoufo-Bissiwasa
  • Bissa-Lingere
  • Bissa-Lingere
  • Gurma-Lingere
  • Gurma-Bissa-Lingere

Religion Overview

Burkina Faso is predominantly Christian and Muslim. Approximately 60% of the population belong to denominations of Christianity, while Islam makes up approximately 25% of the population. The remaining 15% of the population follow ethnic religions and traditional African religions such as Yoruba, Dogon, Dan Gourma, and Gurma.

Major Religions


Burkina Faso's climate is tropical savanna, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wettest months fall between June and September, while the driest months are between December and March. The country experiences relatively short rainfall periods, leading to prolonged periods of droughts, particularly in the northeastern regions. Hammams - thermal springs - can be found in the southern regions of Burkina Faso, which are a mixture of hot and cold waters.

Economy Overview

Burkina Faso's economy is predominantly agricultural, centered around cotton production. Agricultural activities contribute to approximately 40% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing around 80% of the population. Other key industries in the country include gold mining, livestock farming, and market services. The government has embarked on various initiatives to boost the country's economy, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and industrialization.

Key Industries

  • Cotton
  • Gold
  • Livestock

Major Companies

  • Cotton company SODEFICOT
  • Socabury (gold mining)
  • Boganda (gold mining)
  • BCEAO (West African Central Bank)
  • CAPRESIDA (soybean production)
  • RANGER (mining services)
  • Reseur Gold (gold mining)
  • SEMSOM (livestock breeding)
  • SONASID (an alumina plant)

Culture and Language Overview

Burkina Faso boasts a rich cultural heritage, characterized by dazzling festivals, a colorful cuisine, and engaging art. The country's festivals showcase its traditional dances and music, such as the Feticaule (a week-long festival celebrated by Gurma and Fulani communities), the Fendu (celebrated by the Dogon people), and La Tata (celebrated by the Lobi people) among others. Local cuisine is a mix of traditional dishes from various ethnic groups, with rice, fish, and plantain notably dominant in burkina cuisine.

Cultural Highlights

  • Feticaule
  • Fendu
  • La Tata
  • Yelelo
  • Spicy rice
  • Routboulang (spicy Wauba dish)
  • Nangall (spicy sorrel soup)
  • Kpamangou (spicy vegetable cake)
  • Pulpo (spicy cassava cake)
  • Kompo (spicy cassava paste)

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Burkina Faso spans over 270,00 square kilometers, divided into 45 provinces. It lies between latitudes 9° and 16° north, and longitudes 0° and 4° west. The country is dominated by plateaus and hills, with some mountainous regions located in its borders. Its highest point, Ténakour, stands at 915 meters (2,999 feet) above sea level. Some notable landmarks include the W Hallégalba Saint Foundation Orphanage, the Koura Hippodrome, the Grand Mosque of Koudougou, and the Foli Foli Festival Village.

Notable Landmarks

  • W Hallégalba Saint Foundation Orphanage
  • Koura Hippodrome
  • Grand Mosque of Koudougou
  • Foli Foli Festival Village

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • New Year's Eve (December 31)
  • African Renaissance Day (January 25)
  • Labour Day (May 1)
  • National Day (August 5)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • Fête du Nambori (December 23)

Political Stability

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