| · Muslim: 60%
| · Animist: 16%
| · Christian: (all denominations) 24%
| · Capital: Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso is a poor country
Historically Burkina Faso was the homeland of several powerful Black African kingdoms. These states managed to maintain their independence and successfully drove back Islamic influence from the North for hundreds of years. From the late 19th century until 1960, Burkina Faso was a French colony called “Upper Volta”.
The name Burkina Faso, meaning “land of the upright people”, was adopted in 1984. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, having a high population density, few natural resources and a fragile soil. Over 80% of the population are engaged in subsistence agriculture. Recent droughts and desertification are severely affecting agricultural activities, causing overgrazing, soil degradation and deforestation.
Folk Islam and Animism in Burkina Faso
The Burkinabe capital, Ougadougou, was the capital of the Mossi Kingdom. Since the late 18th century, Ougadougou has been predominantly Muslim. Presently “Ouga” has beautiful and large boulevards that are used everyday by thousands of cars, mobylettes and bicycles. Despite massive movements toward the cities much of the population still live in small villages with their tribal customs.
Many Burkinabe Muslims are involved in folk Islam and animism. Missionaries relate the following story: A man called Mossi carries his sick son to the open-air market. A Muslim religious man sells portions of the Qur’an and offers him one wrapped in a gazelle skin pouch. Mossi reasons to himself, “Allah is great, but I need medicine today”. Fear grips Mossi’s heart. My son has been sick for two weeks and no-one can help. Later Mossi passes a sign for anti-diarrhea medicine, but being illiterate Mossi fails to understand. Finally, he reaches the ‘bush doctor’, squatting behind a cloth covered with snake heads, dried owls and lion tails. With the last of his money, he buys a small square of elephant hide according to the prescription given by the bush doctor. Three days later his son dies of dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Prayer guide for Burkina Faso:
* The Burkinabe Muslims need to experience the power of the risen Christ. It is only the power that raised Jesus from the dead that can give life to those dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-5). May the”land of the upright people” know the visitation of the “Righteous One”.
* Pray that the power of folk Islam and animism will be broken. Burkino Faso is one of the strongest countries today dominated by idolatry, fetishism and occult secret societies.
* The present climate is favorable towards Christian outreach, medical and aid programs. Pray for the existing programs and that these numbers would grow (Remember the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37).
* Despite missionary efforts and greater responsiveness, 13 Muslim tribes remain without an effective witness.
Background on Burkina Faso (World Factbook)
Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Burkina Faso’s high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest in Cote d’Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.
Poverty abounds in Burkina Faso
One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to harsh climatic conditions. Cotton is the key crop and the government has joined with other cotton producing countries in the region to lobby for improved access to Western markets. GDP growth has largely been driven by increases in world cotton prices. Industry remains dominated by unprofitable government-controlled corporations. Following the CFA franc currency devaluation in January 1994, the government updated its development program in conjunction with international agencies; exports and economic growth have increased. The government devolved macroeconomic policy and inflation targeting to the West African regional central bank (BCEAO), but maintains control over fiscal and microeconomic policies, including implementing reforms to encourage private investment. The bitter internal crisis in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire continues to hurt trade and industrial prospects and deepens the need for international assistance.
Statistics on Burkino Faso
Population: 17,275,115 * see note about AIDS at bottom (July 2012 est.) World Rank #61
Life Expectancy at Birth: 54.07 years. World Rank #203
Ethnic groups: Mossi over 40%, other approximately 60% (includes Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, and Fulani)
Religions: Muslim 60.5%, Catholic 19%, animist 15.3%, Protestant 4.2%, other 0.6%, none 0.4%
Languages: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Literacy: 21.8% male: 29.4% female: 15.2%
School Life Expectancy: 6 years
Population notes: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.
Burkina Faso – the Video
Sights and Sounds of Burkina Faso.