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Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometers (105,900 sq mi) and is bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest. The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20,321,378.
Previously called Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), it was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by President Thomas SANKARA. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé or Burkinabè, and its capital and largest city is Ouagadougou.
Due to French colonialism, the country's official language of government and business is French. However, only 15% of the population actually speaks French on a regular basis. There are 59 native languages spoken in Burkina, with the most common language, Mooré, spoken by roughly 50% of Burkinabé.
Burkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes 9° and 15° N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6° W and 3° E.
It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrian massif. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 m (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 m (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 m (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.
The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakambé) and the Red Volta (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country's only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komoé, which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country's surface.
The Niger's tributaries – the Béli, Gorouol, Goudébo, and Dargol – are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still can flood and overflow, however. The country also contains numerous lakes – the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam, and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, Béli, Yomboli, and Markoye. Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.
Savannah near the Gbomblora Department, on the road from Gaoua to Batié
Burkina Faso lies within two terrestrial ecoregions: Sahelian Acacia savanna and West Sudanian savanna.
The country is divided into 13 administrative regions. These regions encompass 45 provinces and 301 departments. Each region is administered by a governor.
Burkina Faso's natural resources include gold, manganese, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, and salt.
Burkina Faso is a member of the African Union, G5 Sahel, Community of Sahel–Saharan States, La Francophonie, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Community of West African States, and United Nations.