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.
Last updated: 19 December 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the area of Burkina Faso north of the town of Boulsa, due to its proximity to the border with Mali.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burkina Faso.
There were widespread violent protests on 30 October in Ouagadougou and other cities (including the second city of Bobo Dioulasso), which led to the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré on 31 October. Media reports suggest that several protesters were killed in the 30 October protests, although numbers could potentially be much higher. During the protests, looting and acts of vandalism were widespread, although the FCO is not aware of any foreign nationals being targeted.
Due to the uncertainty of the current political situation, you should stay indoors for the time being and monitor local media for updates.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including places where foreigners gather. There is a risk that terrorist groups may cross the northern borders from Mali and Niger into Burkina Faso to carry out kidnap attacks.
There is no British Embassy in Burkina Faso. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British High Commission in Accra, Ghana. There is an Honorary Consul in Burkina Faso, who can offer limited help.