Burkina Faso, literally “the land of upright people,” has a population of 13.6 million, a landlocked nation in West Africa, south of the Sahara, and a country known for its simple and hard-working national character. Thirty percent of its citizens are Muslim and many local languages are spoken including Mooré and Dioula in addition to the official language which is French. Burkina Faso is subject to extreme heat during its dry season and is said to be one of the poorest countries in the world.
The country is still relatively new to JICA projects; Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) was dispatched the first in 2000. The local JOCV coordination office became a JICA branch in April 2006.
|GNI* per capita||460 dollars/year||UNDP** 2005|
|Average life expectancy||51.4 years old||UNDP** 2005|
|Under-five mortality rate||206/1,000 live births||UNICEF 2006|
|15 years and older literacy rate||23.6%||UNDP** 2005|
|Gross enrollment rate for elementary education||56%||UNESCO*** 2005|
|Human development index||176th out of 177 countries||UNDP 2007|
*Gross National Income **United Nations Development Program
***United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country which is poor in natural resources and therefore which industrial base is fragile. Agriculture and livestock are the main industries, accounting for at least 37.6% of the gross domestic product as of 2002 and at least 85% of employment. However, these industries are subject to the weather so that its growth is quite unstable. The country’s main crops are raw cotton, sorghum, pearl millet, corn and peanuts; raw cotton accounts for at least 60% of exports. Faced with these conditions, the government embarked on a program of economic reform as part of economic stabilization and structural adjustment policies following the transition to civilian rule in 1990. These reforms have been applauded by donor organizations. For the decade from 1997 to 2006, the gross domestic product (GDP) marked an average growth rate of 6%. The government of Burkina Faso quickly adopted a poverty alleviation strategy and was the second sub-Saharan African country to complete drafting a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP/Cadre Stratégique de Lutte contre la Pauvreté, CSLP) in 2000. In July of that year, a 700 million dollar debt reduction was set. A second PRSP/Cadre Stratégique de Lutte contre la Pauvreté, CSLP was devised in 2003 as a continuation of the first PRSP, setting four priorities for the period of 2004 to 2006: the promotion of economic growth, improving access to basic social services among the poor, improving income and expanding employment at the poverty level, and enhancing governance.