Formerly known as Upper Volta - or Haute Volta -, Burkina Faso gained its independence from France in 1960. It is a presidential republic with French as its official language. Besides French, other native African languages, such as Dyula or Mossi, are widely spoken in the country too.
Since it became an independent state, Burkina Faso experienced a number of military coups, public protest about the low quality of living and high levels of corruption, which contributed to the deterioration of the state’s economy. Since only about one-third of the country’s population is literate, it's difficult for many to enter the workforce, thus further destabilizing the economic outlook. The services sector accounts for almost half of the GDP generation, whereas just above a third comes from the agricultural sector. Burkina Faso currently exports goods, such as gold and cotton, with a value of around 2.4 billion U.S. dollars a year. Its main export partner is Switzerland, with a share of more than 50 percent in all exports. Like many countries, Burkina Faso does, however, import more than it exports; goods, such as petroleum, with a value of 3.17 billion U.S. dollars were imported in 2016 alone. For imports, China is Burkina Faso’s most important trade partner, with a share of over 12 percent in all imports, but Burkina Faso seems to source its goods from all over the world and several continents.