Burkina Faso, Africa
Known until 1984 as the “Upper Volta", Burkina Faso is a landlocked country on the African continent. Burkina Faso neighbors Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Approximately the size of Colorado, it is one of the poorest countries in the world with few natural resources.
About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Cotton is the main cash crop. Along with Mali, Niger, and Chad, Burkina Faso has begun to lobby to get improved access to Western markets.
Along with the AIDS virus, other problems within Burkina Faso include female genital mutilation, child labor, and child trafficking. The government has begun taking serious steps to combat these problems around the country. In Burkina Faso, workers have the right to organize unions, and have used the power in the past to strike.
Although education in Burkina Faso is “free,” it is estimated that only 44% attend schools due to the high price for supplies, various fees, as well as the opportunity cost of sending a child to school instead of work. In 2003 it was estimated that the literacy rate among Burkinabe was 21.8%. Burkina Faso has a university and technical college for higher learning.