The Country’s Context
Burkina Faso is located in the center of West Africa, surrounded by Niger, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Burkina Faso, which stands for: ‘’Country of honest men’’, is a presidential republic. This Sahelian country has an area of 274 200 km2 and a population of 13, 9 million people of which less than a quarter lives in cities. Life expectancy is estimated at 44 years old. The literacy rate is 28% while that of women is not more than 18%. The official language is French but several other dialects are frequently used.

The South-Western part of the country is the most furtile; receiving as much as 1 300 mm of rain each year while the Northern part receives only a fifth of that. Agriculture represents 39% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The main exportation products are cotton, gold and cattle.


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Religions and traditions
In Burkina Faso, most of the population is Muslim. Christianity and Animism make up the rest. Every event during the year is underlined by the ‘’Sortie des masques’’, which differs a lot from one population to another. Besides the initiating rituals to make the rain come down, weddings and funerals are also quite good reasons to have festivities around the country. 

Being part of the Sahelian zone, Burkina Faso doesn’t have a luxuriant flora. On the other hand, nature has gifted them with ‘’providence trees’’. They are called this way due to their usefulness to men. The fruits, the bark and the leaves of the baobab tree have multiple uses. The gum of the gum tree tree is used in candy shops, in pharmacies and in paper mills. The shea seed in used for cosmetics and the mango tree’s fruits are delicious.

The big herds are at the Eastside of the country within the huge national parks of Arli and ‘’W’’, which are very rich in wild fauna and of savannas.
Arts and culture
From the very beginning, communities have expressed their artistic talent through sculputure, music, architecture and crafts. Burkinabees are great sculptors: their masks, of various shapes and of impressive sizes, are carved in wood and decorated with feathers and drawings. Percussion instruments are used everywhere. As well, vocal art is well known for its vitality and originality.

In this agriculture dominating country, craft is very important and comes in various shapes: pottery, basketwork, weaving, traditional dyeing, leather-goods and jewelry. The method of the ‘’lost wax bronze’’, which is a flourishing one around the country, allows the creation of decorative objects and statuettes of various sizes which often represent women.

With the coming of new technologies like digital, photography and the cinema, traditional art didn’t disappear but its functions, expressions and social ranks attached to it have suffered transformations.

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 Regional context and socio-economic situation »  

 History and strategic approach »