Burkina Faso 1983

By | September 11, 2023

In 1983, Burkina Faso, known as Upper Volta until 1984, was a landlocked West African country located in the Sahel region. It was marked by its political instability, economic challenges, and a struggle for social progress. Here, we’ll delve into the key aspects of Burkina Faso in 1983, including its political landscape, economy, society, culture, and historical context.

Political Landscape:

In 1983, Burkina Faso was experiencing a period of political turbulence. The country had gone through a series of military coups and changes in leadership since gaining independence from France in 1960. Captain Thomas Sankara, a charismatic military officer, took power in a coup in August 1983. He renamed the country Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Upright Men.”

According to homosociety, Sankara’s government implemented a radical and leftist agenda, aiming to transform the nation socially, economically, and politically. His administration sought to reduce the influence of traditional chiefs and elites while advocating for grassroots participation and social justice. Sankara’s leadership was marked by a strong emphasis on self-reliance, anti-imperialism, and pan-Africanism.


Burkina Faso’s economy in 1983 was primarily agrarian, with the majority of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture. The country faced numerous economic challenges, including a heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture, desertification, and a lack of infrastructure.

Sankara’s government initiated various economic reforms, including land redistribution, encouragement of food self-sufficiency, and the promotion of local industries. These policies aimed to reduce dependence on foreign aid and international markets.

Despite these efforts, Burkina Faso remained one of the world’s poorest nations, with a fragile economy vulnerable to external shocks.

Society and Culture:

Burkina Faso’s society in 1983 was characterized by its rich ethnic diversity, with more than 60 different ethnic groups, including the Mossi, Fulani, and Bobo. Each group had its distinct traditions, languages, and cultural practices.

Traditional beliefs and animism were widespread among Burkina Faso’s population, although Islam and Christianity also had a significant presence.

Music and dance played an integral role in Burkina Faso’s culture, with various ethnic groups contributing to the nation’s vibrant artistic heritage. The country was known for its traditional masks, sculptures, and textiles.

Historical Context:

To understand Burkina Faso in 1983, it’s essential to consider the historical context. The country had experienced a tumultuous history since gaining independence from French colonial rule. The early years of independence were marked by political instability, with a series of military coups and changes in leadership.

Captain Thomas Sankara’s rise to power in 1983 marked a turning point in Burkina Faso’s history. His government sought to break away from the legacy of colonialism and imperialism while focusing on social and economic reforms.

Challenges and Prospects:

In 1983, Burkina Faso faced numerous challenges, including poverty, a fragile economy, and political instability. While Sankara’s government implemented bold and progressive policies, it also faced resistance from traditional elites and external pressures.

Despite these challenges, Sankara’s leadership was characterized by a strong commitment to social justice, gender equality, and rural development. His administration embarked on initiatives such as mass vaccination campaigns, building schools and health centers, and promoting women’s rights.

The years that followed saw Burkina Faso’s transformation, with Sankara’s government implementing significant reforms and pursuing a more assertive foreign policy. However, internal and external pressures would eventually lead to Sankara’s downfall in a coup in 1987, resulting in his assassination.

In conclusion, Burkina Faso in 1983 was a nation undergoing significant political and economic changes under the leadership of Captain Thomas Sankara. The country’s rich cultural diversity, social challenges, and historical context played a crucial role in shaping its trajectory. While Burkina Faso faced numerous obstacles, Sankara’s government symbolized a bold and ambitious vision for a more equitable and self-reliant nation in the heart of West Africa.

Location of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, boasts a unique and diverse geographical location that influences its climate, landscape, and socioeconomic conditions. Situated in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso shares borders with six countries and is known for its arid plains, savannas, and rich cultural heritage. In this comprehensive description, we’ll explore the geographical features, borders, topography, climate, and significance of Burkina Faso’s location.

Geographical Location:

Burkina Faso is located in the interior of West Africa, with geographical coordinates ranging from approximately 9 to 15 degrees North latitude and 2 to 6 degrees West longitude. It is entirely landlocked and surrounded by six neighboring countries, making it a central and crucial player in regional dynamics.


According to paulfootwear, Burkina Faso shares its borders with the following six countries, each contributing to its geopolitical and cultural context:

  1. Mali: To the north and west, Burkina Faso shares a border with Mali, a country known for its historical empires and diverse ethnic groups. The border region is characterized by arid landscapes and desertification.
  2. Niger: In the north and northeast, Burkina Faso shares a border with Niger, another landlocked country known for its vast desert expanses and nomadic populations.
  3. Benin: To the southeast, Burkina Faso has a border with Benin, which features tropical forests, coastal plains along the Gulf of Guinea, and a significant cultural diversity.
  4. Togo: In the southeast, Burkina Faso shares a border with Togo, a country known for its palm-fringed beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and hilly terrain.
  5. Ghana: To the south, Burkina Faso shares a border with Ghana, a nation renowned for its historical role in the transatlantic slave trade and vibrant cultural heritage.
  6. Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast): In the southwest, Burkina Faso has a border with Côte d’Ivoire, a country with a diverse landscape encompassing forests, savannas, and coastal areas along the Gulf of Guinea.


Burkina Faso’s topography is characterized by its diverse landscapes, including arid plains, savannas, plateaus, and low-lying areas:

  1. Sahel Region: The northern part of Burkina Faso falls within the Sahel, a semi-arid transitional zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the savannas to the south. This region experiences dry conditions and desertification challenges.
  2. Savannas: Much of Burkina Faso is covered by savannas, which feature grasslands, shrubs, and scattered trees. These areas are essential for agriculture, livestock grazing, and rural livelihoods.
  3. Plateaus: Central Burkina Faso includes plateaus and highlands, including the Mossi Plateau. This region is characterized by its relatively higher elevation and fertile soils.
  4. Volta River Basin: In the southwest, Burkina Faso is part of the Volta River Basin, which includes the Black, Red, and White Volta rivers. These rivers are essential for agriculture, fishing, and hydroelectric power generation.


Burkina Faso experiences a semi-arid to tropical climate, with varying conditions across different regions:

  1. Sahelian Climate: The northern part of Burkina Faso, within the Sahel region, has a dry and arid climate with limited rainfall. This area is prone to drought and desertification.
  2. Savanna Climate: Most of the country, including the central and southern regions, has a savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Rainfall is crucial for agriculture and sustenance.
  3. Tropical Climate: In the southwest, closer to the Gulf of Guinea, Burkina Faso experiences a more tropical climate with higher rainfall and higher humidity levels.

Significance of Location:

Burkina Faso’s location in West Africa has several important implications:

  1. Landlocked Challenges: Being entirely landlocked, Burkina Faso faces logistical challenges for international trade, relying on neighboring countries’ ports and transportation networks.
  2. Regional Cooperation: Burkina Faso is a member of various regional organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). These memberships promote economic integration and cooperation with neighboring nations.
  3. Cultural Diversity: The country’s location at the crossroads of different ethnic groups and neighboring nations has contributed to its rich cultural diversity, with over 60 distinct ethnic groups and languages.
  4. Climate Vulnerabilities: Burkina Faso’s climate varies from arid to tropical, affecting agriculture and food security. The country is vulnerable to climate change impacts, including droughts and desertification.

In conclusion, Burkina Faso’s geographical location in West Africa, marked by its landlocked status and diverse landscapes, has shaped its cultural diversity, economic challenges, and regional dynamics. While it faces landlocked challenges and environmental vulnerabilities, Burkina Faso continues to play a vital role in the socio-economic development and regional cooperation of West Africa.