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Burkina Faso

country million volta introduced

Burkina Faso, land-locked country in West Africa known as Upper Volta until 1984. It is bounded on the west and north by Mali, on the east by Niger and Benin, and on the south by Togo, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Burkina Faso is a broad expanse too dry to support much vegetation. Water is scarce. Temperatures range from 68ÉF to 95ÉF (20ÉC–35ÉC). The largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso is the Mossi tribe, but well over half a million nomadic Fulanis and others live in the north. Traditional African religions predominate, but there are also about a million Muslims and a quarter of a million Roman Catholics. The capital is Ouagadougou. French is the official language. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries of Africa, and the majority of its work force is engaged in subsistence farming. The country exports cotton, animals, meat, oil seeds, and karité nuts. There are deposits of manganese, limestone, and bauxite, but they have not been fully exploited.

What is now Burkina Faso was once the heart of the great Mossi kingdoms, which dated back to the 1100s and lasted some 500 years. The French made the area a protectorate in 1896 and a colony in 1919. Upper Volta became independent in 1960. The country had a series of civilian and military regimes. Although a new constitution was introduced in 1978, the military continued to dominate the country's politics until 1991 when a multi party system was introduced. At the end of the 1990s, the IMF acquitted part of the foreign debt.

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