Burkina Faso is a landlocked West African country, only slightly larger than the UK. Its name translates from the Mooré language to mean ‘land of honest men’, a name given by its post-independence leader, Thomas Sankara, celebrating independence from the French colonial powers. It is one of the world’s poorest nations, ranking 183rd of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). With few natural resources, Burkina Faso’s economy is largely based on cotton production, as well as increasing mining investments in the Sahel region to the North. As such, it is heavily reliant on foreign investment and aid and is vulnerable to external shocks.
The majority of the population rely on subsistence agriculture and its harsh climate and poor soil make it susceptible to droughts. Burkinabè people are comprised of over 60 ethnic groups and a mixture of religions, coexisting in relative harmony in a region that is susceptible to unrest. Politically, Blaise Compaoré held presidency for 27 years, until a popular uprising in October 2014 removed him from power. In December 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was elected as the new president of Burkina Faso.