Burkina Faso

Although desperately poor, and with an almost total lack of raw materials or natural resources, landlocked Burkina Faso (“Land of the Honourable”) is a country that most visitors really enjoy. The poverty is no more apparent than in neighbouring countries, the military checkpoints that formerly littered the country are much less evident than they once were, and the soldiers and customs officers who you do meet treat you with respect, venturing a “Bonne arrivée, ça va?” while verifying your passport. Indeed, the friendliness of the Burkinabè is something all visitors remark upon. . .

(continued on p. 238)

From March to June 2011, Burkina Faso was convulsed by widespread demonstrations against unaffordable commodity prices. Inevitably drawing comparisons with events in North Africa, the protests drew in students, the army and even the police. Businesses were looted and towns closed down by curfews. But true to the country’s reputation, the crackdown was a relatively low-key one, partly because the security forces were on both sides of the barriers. Although several demonstrators have been killed, and people still have plenty to be aggrieved about, the atmosphere remains open and friendly to tourists. It’s not at all clear what is meant by the red no-go area in the north of the FCO travel advisory website’s map of the country. Presumably it relates to the perceived terrorist threat from bandits in neighbouring Niger – except that country lies on the other side of a very wide Niger River, and the only bridge is the one in Niamey.

Links we like

Faso News Burkinabè news portal.

Le Faso Burkinabè news site.

Government of Burkina Faso*

L’Indépendant Outspoken news and forum.

L’Office National du Tourisme Burkinabè National tourist office, in French.

* Hmm, this one wasn’t working when last checked, but it’s likely to come back to life. In any case it’s more of a “link to know about” than a “link we like”.

This page last edited 9 June 2011 © Richard Trillo and Emma Gregg

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