Burkina Faso, West Africa
Political Leader: President Blaise Compaoré
Religions: Islam 50%, Traditional 31%, Christianity 20%
Persecution Ranking: Not Ranked
Number of Terrorist Groups: None Listed
Acts of Terrorism: Not Listed; Casualties: Not Listed
Percent of Corruption: 68%
% of People in Poverty: 45%
Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, is a landlocked country located in the middle of West Africa’s hump. Its neighbors are Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo and Ghana. It is geographically in the Sahel―the agricultural region between the Sahara Desert and the coastal rain forests. The largest river is the Mouhoun (Black Volta), which is partially navigable by small craft. Burkina Faso has West Africa's largest elephant population. Game preserves also are home to lions, hippos, monkeys, warthogs and antelope. Infrastructure and tourism are, however, not well developed. The population if mostly divided to two major West African cultural groups―the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from Ghana and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is still led by the Mogho Naba, whose court is in Ouagadougou.
Burkinabe are Muslim, but most also adhere to traditional African religions. The Mossi rulers initially resisted the introduction of Islam to Burkina Faso. Islam and local fetishism serve as the religion of choice for most people. The government estimated that 17% of the population practices Roman Catholicism, and 3% are members of various Protestant denominations. Burkina Faso’s constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice.
Challenges to Christians:
Female genital mutilation, child labor, child trafficking and social exclusion of accused sorcerers remain serious problems, although the government has taken steps in recent years to combat these phenomena. Workers and civil servants generally have the right to organize unions, engage in collective bargaining, and strike for better pay and working conditions.
- Pray that God will move mightily in this small country. Pray that the strongholds of the enemy would be broken and that the truth of Jesus would penetrate even the hardest hearts.
- Pray for the Lord to intervene and miraculously stop the atrocities like female genital mutilation, child labor and child trafficking.
- Pray for the Burkinabe and Serving in Missions missionaries who are partnering together in seven locations. Pray that God moves through the short-term Bible schools provided in each region. Praise God for these missionaries who are committed to the task of translating the Bible into local languages, reaching youth and street children, clean water development and developing HIV/AIDS related ministries.
- Pray for the economic development of Burkina Faso. As the population density is high for Africa, this causes migrations of hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe to Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, many for seasonal agricultural work. Pray that these workers, who are obviously affected by external events like the September 2002 coup attempt in Cote d'Ivoire and the ensuing fighting there, are protected and are able to reunite with families when the work is done.
Sources: (SIM) Serving in Missions, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, The World Factbook