General information on Burkina Faso

According to the U.N. Human Development Index, Burkina Faso is one of the least developed countries in Africa. Like in so many other African nations, children are the most vulnerable members of society. SOS Children's Villages supports and protects young people and children who have lost their parents or who are at risk of losing parental care.
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In August 1960, the country gained complete independence from France, but a number of military coups followed. It is now a semi-presidential Republic and a member of the African Union (AU). The country was known as "Republic of Upper Volta" until 1984.

Burkina Faso is an extremely poor country characterised by one of the lowest per capita GDPs in the world. Although the country is rich in gold, cotton production is the main pillar of the economy. Compared to other African nations, its industrial base is rather weak and natural resources are scarce. 90 per cent of the country's labour force work in the agricultural sector.

In 2011, widespread popular protests over police brutality, autocracy and rising food prices triggered international media attention. The protests were soon quieted by the authorities, who promised to make changes to the current constitution in order to make Burkina Faso a more democratic state.