Burkina Faso has a score of 0.423 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers related to life expectancy, education and income per capita. This number is used to rank countries into four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Burkina Faso is number 183 out of the 186 countries worldwide. This means that almost half of the population lives in extreme poverty. The average person earns around €550 a year. (source: UNDP)
From the 11th century, the Mossi, a West African ethnic group, ruled over a big part of Northwest Africa. After the arrival of the French in 1896, the region that is now Burkina Faso became a French colony and was named the Upper Volta. On 5 August 1960, the country became independent of France. On August 4, 1984, exactly one year after Marxist-Leninist Thomas Sankara came to power through a coup d'état, the name of the country was changed to Burkina Faso, which means the land of the sincere people. Compared to other African countries, Burkina Faso has a fairly peaceful history. There have indeed been a number of coups, but these went by without bloodshed. Apart from France during colonization, Burkina has not experienced war in modern times. There are occasional frictions with Ivory Coast. Despite poverty, the country is fairly self-sufficient and famine has not occurred since the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. During the civil war in Ivory Coast, there was a big chance of famine in the south of Burkina Faso due to the influx of refugees. However, this was prevented by international aid.
In 1987, Sankara was deposed after a military coup and Blaise Compaoré came to power. Burkina Faso has a presidential political system whereby the people elect a president in two rounds of voting for a period of five years. The president can only be re-elected once. That was not the case with Compaoré which is why, he was forced to resign himself in 2014. Since 2015, Roch March Christian Kaboré has been the head of state of Burkina Faso. He was elected in the first round of the presidential election and won with 53 percent of the votes (source: landenweb).
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. 80% of the population depends on agriculture that is subsidized by the UN. Despite problems such as drought and poor infrastructure, the country can provide itself with sufficient food, partly due to the economic boost given by Thomas Sankara. His slogan "Consommons Burkinabé" (Consume Burkinabees) prompted the Burkinabe to initially buy products from their own country, so that money stays within the country. The most important export products of Burkina Faso are mainly green beans and cotton. There are also banana and cocoa plantations in the south of the country (source: landenweb).
About half the population of Burkina Faso is Muslim. 40% of the population follow traditional animistic religions. The rest are Christian, especially Roman Catholic. Family ties are very important for the Burkinabe. Just like in many other African countries, music is very important. The Balafoon is used a lot, but the djembe and the Ngoni are also common instruments (source: faso.nl)