Africa- Burkina Faso

downloadBurkina Faso is in western Africa, north of Ghana.  It has warm, dry winters, and hot, wet summers but I don’t think it will be on my next trip itinerary.  The country became independent from France in 1960, and in the subsequent decades there were repeated military coups.  The 1990’s brought multiparty elections but President Blaise Compaore resigned in Oct 2014 following protests against his efforts to amend the two-term presidential limit. The country is now run by an interim administration with presidential and legislative elections to be held in late 2015.

The Burkinabe people, of which there are over 18 million, speak French officially but native African languages are still spoken by 90% of the population, which is mainly muslim but also about 20% catholic.  The life expectancy is less than 55 years (compared to over 80 in the UK), and only 37% of men and 22% of women over 15 can read and write (compared to about 84% globally).

One are that BF beats the UK though is youth unemployment with only 4% aged 15-24 unemployed, compared to 21% in 495px-Coat_of_arms_of_Burkina_Faso.svgthe UK.  Which is crazy when you think how many more young people in that age range are in education in the UK.  The country’s main export is gold, cotton, and it also apparently exports a decent amount of sesame seeds every year.

Oral literature is big in Burkina Faso, and post-Independence saw an increase in playwrights and plays, and the 1970’s saw a growth in published writers. Western theatre became popular during colonial times but the Theatre of Burkina Faso combines colonial and post-colonial as well as traditional performance (which involves masks apparently).
I personally, can’t get over the discrepancy in life expectancy between Burkina Faso and developed western countries and people doing everything younger like leaving school, working, having children (mean age for a woman is 19 in BF and 28 in the UK).  If anyone knows why we allow such discrepancies when we (the world and human race collectively) has the ability to grow food, cure diseases, and create humorous internet memes please leave it in the comments.
Categories: Africa | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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