Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso literally “Country of honest Men”, also called Burkina, formerly republic of Upper Volta, is a country in West Africa without access to the sea. It is surrounded by: Mali to the north-west, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo to the southeast, Ghana to the south, and Côte d’Ivoire to the southwest. The capital Ouagadougou is located in the center of the country. Burkina Faso is a member of the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and the ‘Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It is one of the ten least developed countries in the world, with a human development index of 0.402 in 2015.

Burkina Faso’s history

Prehistoric period

As for all of West Africa, Burkina Faso experienced very early settlement, with hunter-gatherers in the northwest part of the country (12,000 to 5,000 years before the Christian era), and tools (scrapers, chisels and points) were discovered in 1973. Sedentarization appeared between 3,600 and 2,600 before the Christian era with farmers, whose traces of construction suggested a relatively permanent installation. The use of iron, ceramic and polished stone developed between 1,500 and 1,000 before the Christian era, as well as the appearance of spiritual concerns, as evidenced by the burial remains discovered. Vestiges attributed to the Dogons have been discovered in the Center-North, North and North-West region. However, they left the sector between the fifteenth century and the sixteenth century to settle in the cliff of Bandiagara. In addition, remains of walls are located in the southwest of Burkina Faso (as well as in Ivory Coast), but their builders have so far been unable to be identified with certainty. The ruins of Loropéni, located near the borders of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, are today recognized as a World Heritage Site.

Precolonial period

Before colonization, the current territory of Burkina Faso was divided between different kingdoms or chiefdoms: Gurma, country of Gurmantchés and Bembas; Mossi, country of the Mossis; Gwiriko, country of the Bobo-Dioulas; Bissa, country of Bissa (lebri or barka) Liptako, country of the Peuls, Hausa and Bellas. We often forget the period of the Amoravids and Ibn Tachfin; there are historical accounts which detail the Islamic Amazigh conquests which made allegiance to the Caliphate of Baghdad (Abbaside) which extended the Almoravid kingdom to the gates of northern Congo. There are few testimonies of this time in Burkina Faso. However, a chronology of the Mossi kingdoms exists. The Europeans had little contact with the Mossi, as this territory was called, and they occurred shortly before colonization. The report From Niger to the Gulf of Guinea of ​​Louis-Gustave Binger’s trip (1856-1936) recounts his stay, in June 1888, at Boukary, the brother of Moro Naba Sanem in Ouagadougou. Which Boukary was to become the Moro Naba Wobgho who resisted the French, with very limited means in front of their modern weapons. Binger describes a kingdom organized according to a feudal system.

Colonial period

In 1896, the Mossi kingdom of Ouagadougou became a French protectorate. In 1898, most of the region corresponding to present-day Burkina Faso was conquered. In 1904, these territories were integrated into French West Africa within the colony of Haut-Senegal and Niger. Many inhabitants participated in the First World War in the Senegalese infantry battalions. In 1915 and 1916 the Bani-Volta war took place to protest against forced recruitment. Nearly 30,000 people were killed by troops from French West Africa. On March 1, 1919, Édouard Hesling became the first governor of the new colony of Upper Volta. It was dismembered on September 5, 1932 and the territory was divided between Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger. The indigenous population is highly discriminated against. For example, African children are not allowed to use a bicycle or pick fruit from the trees, “privileges” reserved for the children of the settlers. Violating these regulations could lead parents to jail. On September 4, 1947, Upper Volta was reconstituted within its limits of 1932. On December 11, 1958, it became the Republic of Upper Volta, a republic member of the French Community, and it gained independence on August 5, 1960 The name Burkina Faso was adopted on August 4, 1984.

After independence

The first president of the Republic of Upper Volta is Maurice Yaméogo. On January 4, 1966, Lieutenant-Colonel Sangoulé Lamizana replaced him in power after a popular uprising. In the early 1980s, Upper Volta was one of the poorest countries in the world: an estimated infant mortality rate of 180 per 1000, life expectancy limited to 40 years, an illiteracy rate of up to ” at 98%, and a gross domestic product per person of 53,356 CFA francs (or 72 euros). On November 25, 1980, a military coup brought Colonel Saye Zerbo to power. The latter was overthrown in 1982 by another military coup which placed the doctor commander Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo at the head of the state and Captain Thomas Sankara at the head of the government. This first came into conflict with Sankara and the dismissal of his post as Prime Minister in May 1983. Three months later, on August 4, 1983, Thomas Sankara carried out a new putsch and established the National Council of Revolution (CNR) Marxist. On August 4, 1984, President Sankara renamed his country Burkina Faso. His government defends the transformation of the administration, the redistribution of wealth, the liberation of women, the mobilization of youth and peasants in political struggles, the fight against corruption, etc.

Thomas Sankara takes away from the traditional chiefs the feudal powers which they continued to exercise. He created the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), which are responsible locally for exercising power, managing security, political training, neighborhood sanitation, the production and consumption of local products and even budgetary control. departments. This policy aimed to reduce malnutrition, thirst (with the massive construction by the CDR of wells and reservoirs of water), the spread of diseases (thanks to policies of “commando vaccinations”, in particular of children, Burkinabé or not) and illiteracy (illiteracy rose for men from 95% to 80%, and for women from 99% to 98%, thanks to “alpha operations”). Development projects are also supported by the CDRs, such as the development of the “Sourou Valley” intended to irrigate 41,000 hectares. Operating expenses decrease to strengthen investment. Salaries are punctuated by 5 to 12% but rents are declared free for one year. In 1986, Burkina Faso achieved its goal of two meals and ten liters of water per day per person. Concerned about the environment, Sankara denounces human responsibilities in the advancement of the desert. In April 1985, the CNR launched the “three struggles”: end of excessive logging and awareness campaign concerning the use of gas, end of bush fires and end of the wandering of animals. The government is carrying out dam projects while farmers sometimes build reservoirs themselves. Thomas Sankara also criticizes the lack of aid from France, whose companies, however, mostly benefit from contracts related to major works. Symbolically, a male market day is set up to raise awareness about sharing household chores. Sankara also puts forward the idea of ​​a “living wage”, taken at the source of part of the husband’s salary to pay it back to the wife. In December 1985, a short border war, the war of the Agacher Band, opposed Burkina Faso to Mali. It ended thanks to the mediation of Nigeria and Libya: the contested strip of territory was shared between the two States in December 1986, by a judgment of the International Court of Justice.

Blaise Compaoré (1987-2014)

Captain Blaise Compaoré took power on October 15, 1987 in favor of a coup d’état allegedly supported by the President of the French Republic François Mitterrand. During these events, he is said to have had his predecessor Thomas Sankara murdered. The latter’s death is subject to controversy. The period following the coup is called “Rectification” by Blaise Compaoré. A new constitution was adopted by referendum and on December 1, 1991, Blaise Compaoré was elected President of the Republic (abstention rate: 74%). He was re-elected in 1998, 2005 and in 2010. Police violence and the murders of opponents to President Blaise Compaoré punctuate the decades 1990 and 2000: Dabo Boukary in 1990; two students in 1995; Flavien Nébié (12 years old) in 2000. All were activists or demonstrators. Burkina Faso is also experiencing riots: in 1998 after the assassination of journalist Norbert Zongo, in 2006 with the arrest of certain students following a press conference at the University of Ouagadougou, in 2007- 2008 against the high cost of living19. In June 2008, the University of Ouagadougou experienced a massive strike, which ended in a brutal takeover of the university by the government: abolition of all student social benefits (scholarships, catering, university residences emptied in two days) after live fire on the students. The revolt of 2011 shook the country at the same time as the Arab Spring.

In 1999, following the Ivorian law of 1998 on rural land, a land dispute took place in Tabou, Côte d’Ivoire, between Burkinabè and Ivoiriens. 17,000 of them are fleeing to Burkina Faso. In September 2000, again, a land dispute, in San-Pédro this time, provoked the evacuation of a thousand from Burkinabè. Finally, in 2001, following the election of Laurent Gbagbo, riots multiplied. 80,000 Burkinabés return to Burkina Faso. On October 30, 2014, Blaise Compaoré faced a popular uprising against his project to modify article 37 of the fundamental law limiting the number of presidential terms, in order to stand for re-election in 2015. Following the riots, Blaise Compaoré left the power and the chief of staff of the armies.

Since 2014

Honoré Traoré announces the creation of a “transitional body”, responsible for executive and legislative powers, the objective of which is to return to constitutional order “within twelve months”. On November 1, 2014, the military released a statement asserting support for Isaac Zida as interim president. Honoré Traoré is one of the signatories, which implies his renunciation of power. On November 17, 2014, diplomat Michel Kafando was appointed interim president. He appoints Isaac Zida Prime Minister. On September 17, 2015, soldiers from the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) held the president and the Prime Minister hostage and announced the dissolution of the transitional government. Gilbert Diendéré, former private chief of staff to former president Blaise Compaoré, proclaims himself head of state, in a climate of significant tensions within the country. The coup led to the suspension of Burkina Faso from among the members of the African Union. On September 22, 2015, the army entered Ouagadougou to demand the surrender of the putschists. The same day, the coup leader announced that the president of the transition would be “back in the saddle” after the Economic Community of West African States asked his regiment to lay down their arms. On September 23, 2015, the president of the transition, through an address to the Nation, announced the end of the coup and returned to his post. Burkina Faso was reinstated as a member of the African Union at the end of September.

On November 30, 2015, following the presidential and legislative elections, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (MPP) was elected in the first round as president of Burkina Faso with 53.49% of the votes before Zéphirin Diabré (UPC), who collected 29.65% votes, the other 12 candidates sharing the rest. He is the second civilian president since Burkina Faso gained independence after Maurice Yaméogo. The new president was quickly confronted by jihadist attacks in the north of the country, on the border with Mali. And domestic policy is marked by a slump and rising contestation by the president elected in 2015. On the night of February 3 to 4 2019, a terrorist group attacked the town of Kain in the department of the same name, in the north of the province of Yatenga. The death toll is 14 civilian deaths. In response, the army quickly took various actions against terrorist groups in the northwest of the territory. The army claims to have “neutralized” 146 terrorists during these operations. On the eve of the start of the year of the presidency by the G5 Sahel country, the terrorist attack brings to nearly 300 the number of inhabitants murdered by these groups since 2015. The inaugural day of the G5 Sahel, Tuesday, February 5 , a detachment of the gendarmerie is attacked in Oursi causing five victims on the side of the soldiers. The army claims to have killed 21 attackers during the attack.

Burkina Faso’s politics

The Constitution of June 2, 1991, adopted by referendum, established a semi-presidential two-chamber regime open to multiparty politics: the president of Faso “(Faso” replaces the word “republic”), elected by the people for five years in a two-round ballot. He should only be able to be re-elected once; the National Assembly is the only legislative body in the country. It can be dissolved by the President of Burkina Faso; the house of representatives which had an advisory role was renewed every three years and was dissolved on January 23, 2002. But the constitutional revision of June 11, 2012 reintroduced a second room, the Senate, which is not yet functional. It should be noted that since its adoption on June 2, 1992, the constitution of Burkina Faso was revised three times respectively in January 1997 to lift the lock on the limitation of the presidential mandate, April 2000 to not only reduce the duration of the presidential mandate of 7 to 5 years and also to re-introduce its limitation to renewable once, January 2002. There is also a constitutional council made up of ten members and an economic and social council whose role is purely advisory.

Burkina Faso’s economy

Burkina Faso is a developing country, where agriculture accounts for 32% of gross domestic product and employs 80% of the working population. It is mainly livestock but also, especially in the south and southwest, crops of sorghum, millet, corn, peanuts, rice. It was the second African cotton producer behind Egypt, despite the aridity of the soils. The cotton sector, in many producing countries has gained strength, with excellent harvests, even if on the world market, the price of a pound of fiber in 2015 was around 0.70 dollar, relatively low compared to the peak from the 2 dollars per pound it had reached in 2011. The country was in first place among the top seven African cotton producers in the mid-2010s. In 2015, almost 100,000 farmers practiced organic farming.

In 2017, Burkina Faso was ranked 146th by the Doing business program in terms of business and is the 134th country where life is best (2017). Burkina Faso has a very large diaspora: for example, three million Burkinabè live in Ghana, three million also live in Côte d’Ivoire and 1.5 million in Sudan. According to the central bank of West African states, these migrants repatriate tens of billions of CFA francs each year to Burkina Faso. Since the expulsions from Ghana in 1967, this situation has also caused tensions with the host countries. The last crisis dates back to the events of 2003 in Côte d’Ivoire, which resulted in the punctual return of 300,000 migrants. A third of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. It should also be mentioned some mining productions: copper, iron, zinc and especially gold (the country has just opened its fifth mine). In the late 1990s, Canadian “junior companies”, invested in more than 8,000 mining properties, in more than 100 countries, most of which were still in the planning stage, multiplied contracts with African countries. In Burkina, they are called Axmin, Orezone Resources, Goldcrest Resources or Etruscan Resources, and are often present in neighboring countries because Burkina is a geological extension of the rich gold zone of Ghana. Burkina Faso is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union and the Liptako-Gourma Authority, which is responsible for preventing food crises and droughts through the cooperation of each member country.

Some economic data: GDP: $ 10.678 billion in 201579; GDP per capita: $ 640 in 2015; GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP): $ 1,185 (2007, Quebec, Institut de la Statistique); Real growth rate: 5.2% in 2016; Inflation rate (consumer price index): 6.40% (2006); Exports: $ 1.591 billion in 2011; Imports: $ 2.25 billion in 2011. Human Development Index (HDI) in 2012: 183rd out of 187 countries classified.

Burkina Faso’s demography

Population: 19,512,533 inhabitants (in 2016). 0-14 years: 45.04%; 15-64 years: 52.52%; + 65 years: 2.44% Density: 71.16 inhabitants / km2 Pop growth rate. : 3.01% (in 2016) Migration rate: – 0.97 ‰ (in 2001).

Burkina Faso’s education

Illiteracy is the majority in Burkina Faso. It is more common among women. The majority of students are boys. According to law 13-2007 / AN on the education orientation law, the Burkinabé education system is structured as follows:

Basic education

It includes formal basic education and non-formal basic education. It is compulsory for all children from 6 to 13 years old. Formal basic education has three levels : the first level is preschool education from 3 to 6 years old. This level has three sections. The small section for children from three to four years old, the medium section for those from four to five years old and the large section for those from 5 to 6 years old; the second level is primary education from 6 to 12 years old. It is sanctioned by the Certificate of Primary Studies (CEP). The primary school enrollment rate for the period from 2007 to 2009 was 64% according to UNICEF statistical data. The gross enrollment rate rose to 77.6% in 2011 and then to 79.6% in 2012. Despite this progress, a large number of children do not always have access to education. In 2011/2012, 1,112,184 children aged 6 to 11 were outside the school system83; The third level is post-primary education from 12 to 16 years old and is certified by the Brevet d’études du premier cycle (BEPC). As for non-formal basic education, it includes: literacy and development training for people over 15 who learn to read and count in one of the main national languages; non-formal basic education for young people and adolescents and alternative non-formal basic education formulas. It takes care of children from 9 to 15 years old who are out of school or out of school by giving them access to a complete cycle of basic education, mainly practical and professional, in national languages ​​articulated with the learning of French of a duration which can reach four years.

Secondary education

Secondary education is sanctioned by the baccalaureate and includes three paths: the general route: it constitutes a single three-year cycle and makes it possible to obtain the baccalaureate diploma from one of the series: A, C, D, E and F; the technological path: it is also a single three-year cycle and leads to the baccalaureate diploma in series E, F, G, H; the vocational route, also called technical and vocational secondary education (ESTP). It constitutes the vocational training component of the secondary school education system and comprises three (3) cycles aimed at professional integration. It includes the CAP cycle (CEP + 4 years), the BEP cycle (BEPC or CAP + 2 years) and the Professional Baccalaureate cycle (BEP + 2 years).

Higher Education

It includes universities, institutes and grandes écoles. Burkina Faso has four public universities: the University of Ouagadougou, the dean of the universities, created in 1974; Nazi Boni University, created in 1997; Norbert-Zongo University created in 2005, renamed Norbert Zongo University on November 30, 2017 by the representative of the Head of State Chériff Sy; Ouaga II University, created in 2007. Three university centers created in the interior of the country support the four universities. It is that of Fada N’Gourma which trains in the field of mines, that of Ouahigouya which trains in the field of the tertiary and health and that of Dédougou which trains in the field of agriculture.

Burkina Faso’s languages

French is the main language of institutions, administrative, political and legal bodies, public services, texts and press releases from the State, the written press and writers. It is the only language written by laws, administration and the courts. In addition, Burkina Faso is a member of the International Organization of the Francophonie as well as of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie. According to a 2003 CIA estimate, only 21.8% of the population aged 15 and over can read and write, plus the net enrollment rate (that is, over a given age group) , despite a constant increase for several years, is only 47.70% for the 2005-2006 school year, hence the fact that French is only understood by approximately 15% of the population, of which only 5% of real French speakers according to the General Delegation for the French language and the languages ​​of France. Despite the numerical superiority of national languages, the status of official language and that of international language means that French is gradually weighing more and more in the social and economic life of the country. French enjoys a social status associated with participation in the modern world. It is the language of social advancement.

According to the latest OIF report, French is increasingly becoming the first language of Burkinabè: thus, only 20,947 people declared French as the first language commonly spoken in 1985 (i.e. 0.42% of the country’s population) , 49,647 in 1996 (0.75%), then 151,184 in 2006 (1.66%), including 104,700 in Ouagadougou (or 9.54% of Ouagalais). According to André Magord and Rodrigue Landry, “In recent years, in major cities such as Ouagadougou, Bobo and Banfora, the French language has spread to other communication situations than those just described. Faced with the increasingly multilingual dimension of these cities, French is increasingly becoming the lingua franca among traders and during trade related to all the small trades that are multiplying in these big cities. The spoken French language is no longer standard French, but a French which, without the basis of the written word, is transformed and partly reinvented. This expansion of French is relayed by the billboard very present in the cities and which offers slogans in French. These slogans quickly became popular in a Burkinabe society with a strong oral tradition. This variety of endogenous French which results from linguistic hybridization is a pidgin in the process of creolization.

As in the neighboring country, Ivory Coast appeared a popular French in Burkina Faso. In this French, sometimes called “French of Ouaga” and which remains essentially an oral language, a certain number of interferences have been created between standard French and popular French of Burkina because of the influence of African languages ​​in practice. local French. We are witnessing more and more mixed marriages constituting families whose first language is French. Finally, the Association of Municipalities of Burkina Faso-AMBF as well as the cities of Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Ouagadougou, Tenkodogo, Banfora, Dédougou, Manga, Ouahigouya and Yako are members of the International Association of Francophone Mayors.

There are more than 60 languages, the main ones being: the Moré language spoken by the Mossis, the San spoken by the Samos, the Peul spoken by the Fulani, the gourmantché spoken by the Gourmantchés in eastern Burkina Faso, the Dagara spoken by the Dagaras, Dioula which is a language common to several West African countries (Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea…) spoken by the Dioulas, the Lobiri spoken by the Lobis, the Marka or soninké spoken by the Markas (Soninkés) commonly called “Dafing”, the boho, the bwamu spoken by the Bwabas, the Sénoufo spoken by the Sénoufos, the toussian spoken by the Toussians, the kassena and the lyélé spoken by the Gourounsis and the bissa spoken by the Bissas.