A poor country even by West African standards, landlocked Burkina Faso has suffered from recurring droughts and military coups.
Burkina Faso, which means “land of honest men”, has significant reserves of gold, but the country has faced domestic and external concern over the state of its economy and human rights.
A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960.
In 1983 Capt Thomas Sankara seized power and adopted radical left-wing policies but was ousted by Blaise Compaore, who went on to rule for 27 years before being ousted in a popular uprising in 2014.
- Burkina Faso
- Capital: Ouagadougou
- Population 17.4 million
- Area 274,200 sq km (105,870 sq miles)
- Major languages French, indigenous languages
- Major religions Indigenous beliefs, Islam, Christianity
- Life expectancy 55 years (men), 57 years (women)
- Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc