Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960. Changed its name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso ('Land of Honest Men') in 1984.
Head of state:
President Blaise Compaoré since 1987.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao since 2011.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two rounded pins are standard.
The landlocked state of Burkina Faso remains poor even by West African standards. However, the government is investing in tourism and measures have been taken to increase the accommodation available in the country and to make tourist destinations more attractive.
Wildlife is a key element of this objective in the eastern part of the country while the central part around Ouagadougou concentrates on business tourism. The west focuses on cultural tourism, the north on the discovery of nomadic populations and traditions.
There have been incidents involving armed groups stopping vehicles (including public buses) to rob them in various parts of the country, particularly at night. You should avoid travel between towns by road at night.
There has been severe flooding in the provinces of Kouritenga, Oubritenga, Kadiogo, Houet, Zandoma, Yatenga, Passoré, Loroum, Bam, Namentenga, Sanmatenga and Zoundwego. The flooding is likely to have affected local road conditions and may increase the threat of waterborne diseases. If you intend to travel to the affected areas, seek and follow advice from the local authorities.
Most visits to Burkina Faso are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Travellers should carry some form of identification with them at all times.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: