Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural, and economic centre of the nation. It was the capital of the historic Mossi kingdom of Wagadugu (founded in the 15th century) and the seat of the morho naba (“great king”) of the Mossi people. Islam became the religion of the kings under Naba Dulugu (ruled 1796?–1825?). The morho naba still lives in the city, though his powers were greatly eclipsed by the French colonial and post-independent administrations. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 2,200,000 in 2015. The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais. The spelling of the name Ouagadougou is derived from the French orthography common in former French African colonies.
Ouagadougou's primary industries are food processing and textiles. It is served by an international airport and is linked by rail to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and, for freight only, to Kaya. There are several highways linking the city to Niamey, Niger, south to Ghana, and southwest to Ivory Coast. Ouagadougou has one of West Africa's largest markets, which burned down in 2003 and has since reopened with better facilities and improved fire-prevention measures. Other attractions include the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Moro-Naba Palace (site of the Moro-Naba Ceremony), the National Museum of Music, and several craft markets.
Data and Facts
- Ouagadougou city limits contain an area measuring 85 square miles (219 square kilometers) within which approximately 1.6 million people live
- Wondering how to say the name of this wonderful city? It’s pronounced Wah-gah-doo-goo, although it’s often shortened to Ouaga, pronounced Wah-gah
- Ouagadougou is located 1,001 ft above sea level
- Burkinabe living in Ouagadougou enjoy a hot, semi-arid climate with three seasons; hot, cold and rainy. The average annual temperature is 28°C, although temperatures can reach up to 48°C
- The official language of Ouagadougou is French. West African CFA Franc is the official currency here
Ouagadougou's first municipal elections were held in 1956. The city is governed by a mayor who is elected to a five-year term, two senior councillors, and 90 councillors. The city is divided into five arrondissements, consisting of 30 sectors, which are subdivided into districts. Districts of Ouagadougou include Gounghin, Kamsaoghin, Koulouba, Moemmin, Niogsin, Paspanga, Peuloghin, Bilbalogho, and Tiendpalogo. Seventeen villages comprise the Ouagadougou metropolitan area, which is about 219.3 km2 (84.7 sq mi).
The population of this area is estimated at 1,475,000, 48% of whom are men and 52% women. The rural population is about 5% and the urban population about 95% of the total, and the density is 6,727 inhabitants per square kilometre, according to the 2006 census. Ouagadougou's communes have invested in huge city-management projects. This is largely because Ouagadougou constitutes a 'cultural centre' by merit of holding the SIAO (International Arts and Crafts fair) and the FESPACO (Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou). Moreover, the villages' growing affluence allows for such investment, and the population's rapid growth necessitates it.
The economy of Ouagadougou is based on industry and commerce. Some industrial facilities have relocated from Bobo-Dioulasso to Ouagadougou, which has made the city an important industrial centre of Burkina Faso. The industrial areas of Kossodo and Gounghin are home to several processing plants and factories. The industry of Ouagadougou is a sector that fuels urban growth, as people move to the city from the countryside to find employment in industry. The Copromof workshop in Ouagadougou sews cotton lingerie for the French label "Atelier Augusti."Ouagadougou is an important commercial centre. It is a centre where goods are collected and directed to rural areas. With a large consumer base, large amounts of energy sources, raw materials for buildings, agricultural products and livestock products are imported to the city.The economy is dominated by the informal sector, which is characterized by petty commodity production, and workers not necessarily having salaries. Traditional, informal trade is widespread and concentrated around markets and major roads, as well as in outlets in neighborhoods. There are also instances of modern economic practices with workplaces having qualified, stable labor forces, or more traditional forms of business such as family businesses.The tertiary sector is also an important part of the economy. This comprises communications, banking, transport, bars, restaurants, hotels, as well as administrative jobs.
With a population of around 20 million people, Burkina Faso has been classified as a low-income country by the World Bank. In fact, GDP per capita has now reached USD 1,862, ranking 171th out of a total of 187 countries . Burkinabe consumers are relatively young: according to data from the CIA, the proportion of children below the age of 14 is 45%, 20% for those between 15 and 24, 29.4% between 25 and 54, while only 5.6% are 55 or older. The World Bank Development indicators for its part reveals that in 2017, 69.3% of the population was living in rural areas. This part of the population has relatively low access to consumer goods as compared to people living in urban areas Generally, the Burkinabe consumer has a limited budget and most of the expenses are directed towards primary needs: according to a study published by the Economic Centre of the Sorbonne University, the majority of the household budget is spent on consumption , with the bulk of expenditures going to food. The remaining part is spent on leisure and other activities . On average, Burkinabe households spend around CFA 1.25 million on food, education, healthcare, transportation, housing, durable goods, leisure, and other items every year. With a population of around 20 million people, Burkina Faso has been classified as a low-income country by the World Bank. In fact, GDP per capita has now reached USD 1,862, ranking 171th out of a total of 187 countries .
Burkinabe consumers are relatively young: according to data from the CIA, the proportion of children below the age of 14 is 45%, 20% for those between 15 and 24, 29.4% between 25 and 54, while only 5.6% are 55 or older. The World Bank Development indicators for its part reveals that in 2017, 69.3% of the population was living in rural areas. This part of the population has relatively low access to consumer goods as compared to people living in urban areas Generally, the Burkinabe consumer has a limited budget and most of the expenses are directed towards primary needs: according to a study published by the Economic Centre of the Sorbonne University, the majority of the household budget is spent on consumption , with the bulk of expenditures going to food. The remaining part is spent on leisure and other activities . On average, Burkinabe households spend around CFA 1.25 million on food, education, healthcare, transportation, housing, durable goods, leisure, and other items every year. Families have on average eleven members, of which only 5.4% have female family heads. During the exploration phase, titleholders are exempt from VAT on all imported goods .
Exports are exempt.Goods imported into Burkina Faso are normally subject to customs duties. Special duties are levied on the following goods: beverages, tobacco, perfume and cosmetic products, non-biodegradable plastic packaging and bags, petroleum products, coffee and tea, kola nuts and passenger vehicles with a power that is equal or greater than 13 horsepower. Airline tickets are subject to a special duty. Real property transfers are taxed at a rate of 8%.Capital gains arising from the disposal of fixed assets and shares normally are included in taxable income, but only at 50% of the total amount. Capital gains resulting from mergers for companies and asset contributions are exempt from corporate income tax.Business costs and expenses are deductible if they are strictly related to the business. Losses may be carried forward four years following the year of the losses.Other corporate taxes include: stamp duties for administrative acts , a business transfer tax at 10%, a real property tax at 0.1% of the taxable amount, a business license duty. Growing insecurity, particularly in the north, close to the border with Mali and Niger, has displaced many residents of Burkina Faso.
Many residents travel on motorcycles and mopeds. The large private vendor of motorcycles JC Megamonde sells 50,000 motorbikes and mopeds every year.Ouagadougou's citizens also travel in green cabs, which take their passengers anywhere in town for 200 to 400 CFA, but the price is higher after 10:00 pm and can then reach 1000 CFA.Ouagadougou Airport (code OUA) serves the area with flights to West Africa and Europe. Air Burkina has its head office in the Air Burkina Storey Building (French: Immeuble Air Burkina) in Ouagadougou.Ouagadougou is connected by passenger rail service to Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou and Ivory Coast. As of June 2014, Sitarail operates a passenger train three times a week along the route from Ouagadougou to Abidjan. There are freight services to Kaya in the north of Burkina Faso and in 2014 plans were announced to revive freight services to the Manganese mine at Tambao starting in 2016.
The Bangr-Weoogo urban park (area: 2.63 km2 (1 sq mi)), before colonialism, belonged to the Mosse chiefs. Considering it a sacred forest, many went there for traditional initiations or for refuge. The French colonists, disregarding its local significance and history, established it as a park in the 1930s. In 1985, renovations were done in the park. In January 2001, the park was renamed "Parc Urbain Bangr-Weoogo", meaning "the urban park of the forest of knowledge". Another notable park in Ouagadougou is the "L'Unité Pédagogique", which shelters animals in a semi-free state. This botanic garden/biosphere system stretches over 8 hectares (20 acres) and also serves as a museum for the country's history. "Jardin de l'amitié Ouaga-Loudun" (Garden of Ouaga-Loudun Friendship), with a green space that was renovated in 1996, is a symbol of the twin-city relationship between Ouagadougou and Loudun in France. It is situated in the centre of the city, near the "Nation Unies' crossroads".
Burkina Faso is striving to achieve middle income status by 2030. Gross domestic product per capita has risen steadily over the past decade to $1,720.1 in 2016, according to the World Bank, thanks to consistently strong economic growth that peaked at over 8% in 2010. After slowing to 4% per year in 2014, the economy is expected to return to an annual growth rate of more than 6% in the coming years.The economy remains dominated by the services sector, which contributed almost half of GDP in 2013. The manufacturing sector plays a modest role in the economy, contributing 6% of GDP. The top three export products in 2012 were cotton , gold in unwrought forms and gold in semi-manufactured forms , according to the African Development Bank. Burkina Faso is one of a handful of West African countries which have raised public expenditure on agriculture to at least 10% of GDP, the target of the Maputo Declaration , which was reasserted in 2014. Burkina Faso had a population of 17.4 million in 2014. The country is experiencing rapid demographic growth . Life expectancy at birth was 56 years in 2014. Just 4.4% of the population had access to the Internet in 2014 but two-thirds of the population had a mobile phone subscription. Burkina Faso is ranked 181st on the Human Development Index and 102nd on the Global Innovation Index .
Burkina Faso is a member of both the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union . The considerable efforts made in West Africa to reach the Millennium Development Goal of primary education for all are paying off, with the average enrolment rate having risen from 88% to 93% in the subregion between 2004 and 2012. However, more than half of children were still not completing the primary cycle in 2012.Burkina Faso has one of Africa's highest levels of public expenditure on higher education, at 0.93% of GDP in 2013, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This represents 22% of the education budget and is up from 0.74% of GDP in 2006 .University student rolls doubled in Burkina Faso between 2007 and 2012. Burkina Faso has one of the subregion’s highest ratios of PhD students: one in 20 graduates goes on to enroll in a PhD. The number of PhDs in engineering fields remained low in 2012 but there had been none at all five years earlier. Burkina Faso trains a much greater number of PhDs in the field of health than its neighbours. In 2012, one in three PhD candidates in health sciences was a women, compared to about one in five in science and engineering.Before he died in December 2013, Nelson Mandela, a champion of education, lent his name to two graduate universities entrusted with the mission of producing a new generation of Africa-focused researchers, the African Institutes of Science and Technology in Tanzania and Nigeria. A third is planned for Burkina Faso.
In 2012, the West African Economic and Monetary Union designated 14 centres of excellence in the region. This label entitles these institutions to financial support from WAEMU for a two-year period. Four of these are in Burkina Faso: International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering, Higher Institute of Population Sciences, International Centre for Research and Development into Animal Husbandry in Subtropical Zones and the Centre for Research in Biological and Food Science and Nutrition. In April 2014, the World Bank launched the African Centres of Excellence project. Eight governments are to receive a total of almost US$150 million in loans to fund research and training at 19 of the subregion’s best universities. Within the framework of its Policy on Science and Technology , ECOWAS intends to establish several centres of excellence of its own on a competitive basis.
In January 2011, the government created the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation. Up until then, management of science, technology and innovation had fallen under the Department of Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research. Within this ministry, the Directorate General for Research and Sector Statistics is responsible for planning. A separate body, the Directorate General of Scientific Research, Technology and Innovation, co-ordinates research. This is a departure from the pattern in many other West African countries where a single body fulfils both functions. It is a sign of the government's intention to make science and technology a development priority.In 2012, Burkina Faso adopted a National Policy for Scientific and Technical Research, the strategic objectives of which are to develop R&D and the application and commercialization of research results. The policy also makes provisions for strengthening the ministry’s strategic and operational capacities. One of the key priorities is to improve food security and self-sufficiency by boosting capacity in agricultural and environmental sciences. The creation of a centre of excellence at the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou within the World Bank project cited above provides essential funding for capacity-building in these priority areas.A dual priority is to promote innovative, effective and accessible health systems. The growing number of doctoral candidates in medicine and related fields is a step in the right direction. The government wishes to develop, in parallel, applied sciences and technology and social and human sciences. To complement the national research policy, the government has prepared a National Strategy to Popularize Technologies, Inventions and Innovations and a National Innovation Strategy .Other policies also incorporate science and technology, such as that on Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research , the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security and the National Programme for the Rural Sector .In 2013, Burkina Faso passed the Science, Technology and Innovation Act establishing three mechanisms for financing research and innovation, a clear indication of high-level commitment.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Burkina Faso's 19.8 million people belong to two major West African cultural groups—the Gur (Voltaic) and the Mandé. The Voltaic are far more numerous and include the Mossi, who make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi are still bound by the traditions of the Mogho Naba, who hold court in Ouagadougou. About 12,000 Europeans reside in Burkina Faso, the majority of whom are French.
Most of Burkina Faso's population is concentrated in the south and center of the country, with a population density sometimes exceeding 48 inhabitants per square kilometer (120 inhabitants per square mile). This population density, high for Africa, causes annual migrations of hundreds of thousands of Burkinabé to Ivory Coast and Ghana for seasonal agricultural work. About a third of Burkinabé adhere to traditional African religions. The introduction of Islam to Burkina Faso was initially resisted by the Mossi rulers. Christians, predominantly Roman Catholics, are largely concentrated among the urban elite. Few Burkinabé have had formal education. Schooling is free but not compulsory, and only about 29% of Burkina's primary school-age children receive a basic education. The University of Ouagadougou, founded in 1974, was the country's first institution of higher education. The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Bobo-Dioulasso was opened in 1995. According to the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects the total population was 19,751,466 in 2018, compared to only 4,284,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 45.3%, 52.4% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 2.2% was 65 years or older.