Translation and Localization for Africa: Burkina Faso

June 27, 2016 Sakina Sultanova

Burkina Faso is a small, land-locked country located in West Africa. Even with its gold reserves, it is an impoverished nation and depends heavily on international aid.

In this blog, I will cover brief, but important facts about this West African country.

Burkinabe Demographics

gpi-burkina faso-home

  • Ouagadougou is the capital city.
  • Population of 17.4 million people.
  • Life expectancy is 55 years.
  • Ethnicities: Mossi (over 40%) Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Fulani, Mandé, European.
  • Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 30%, Indigenous beliefs 20%.

Burkinabe Languages

  • Official language is French.
  • There are approximately 69 native African languages spoken.
  • Mande languages are most common in the west.
  • Fula is widely spoken in the north.
  • Gourmmanche is spoken in the east.
  • Bissa is spoken in the south.

Burkinabe Culture

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  • Music is the main element of the Burkina Faso culture; they use it to show the desire for blessings by the spirits.
  • Indigenous masks are made to demonstrate sacrifices to gods and to show animal spirits in the villages.
  • Literature has historically been based on oral tradition.
  • Burkina Faso means "land of honest men".

Burkinabe Consumers

  • Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is ranked as 28th among the other countries.
  • Around 85% of the population is engaged in the agriculture.
  • Inflation is expected to remain modest due to a good harvest and low world oil prices.
  • The economy is still recovering from a political crisis in 2012.
  • Africa's largest cotton producer.

Burkina Faso's Future

  • With the help of international organizations, Burkina Faso is developing programs and infrastructure to address the needs of the population, including:
    • Strengthening infectious disease prevention by improving skills and educating more medical workers.
    • Improving healthcare resources for mothers and children.
    • Building schools and educating teachers.
  • Economic growth is expected in 2016 (5%) and 2017 (6%).

With the help of international organization, life for the Burkinabe people can get better with time. Economic growth is expected due to the recovery of the mining industry and the return of a democratic institution. There is still a threat of political instability, but urban growth and a strong agricultural sector will help the country's economy improve.

Additional Resources on Africa and African Language Translation

In order to support the growing needs of our clients for many of the African and Middle Eastern languages, GPI has opened offices in Dubai, UAE and Cairo, Egypt to support our clients doing business in the Middle East and Africa. GPI has built teams of professional native speakers for many of the African languages whether national or indigenous, who are available to help companies with their African language translations needs.

Feel free to review our blogs and eBooks that are particularly relevant:

Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our translation services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in future blogs. You may also request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.



About the Author

Sakina Sultanova

Global Account Services Manager. Sakina is originally from Azerbaijan and is now living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She fluently speaks 5 languages including Azeri, Russian, Turkish, English and Chinese. In high school, she was an exchange student in Alabama, United States of America. She graduated from Baku State University, faculty of Oriental Studies (China). She has 8 years’ experience in different fields of Business Development, Office Management, Translation and Teaching. She has worked in international companies owned by Chinese, Turkish and British firms, providing her diverse experience with different cultures and business protocols and customs. She has solid experience as well in sales, researching, customer relations and business planning. She is a proud mother of 2 year old baby-girl. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and playing outdoors.

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