Burkina Faso is in 183rd place out of 186 countries and
territories in 2013 when ranked in terms of life expectancy,
literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a
country with a life expectancy for males of just 52 years rising
to 54 years for women.
Child poverty stands at 47% and a quarter of all children in the
country are underweight. Whilst having significant gold reserves,
its economy is underdeveloped with cotton production being the
main form of income for most Burkinabes, as they are called. The
economic downturn of 2009 hit the Burkina Faso economy hard as its
exports of gold and cotton plummeted and it has yet to recover.
As with many poorer African nations illiteracy rates are high
with just under 30% of males over the age of 15 being able to read or write,
however this figure drops alarmingly to just 15% for females, reflecting poorer
enrolment and engagement for girls who are required to provide care and for
chores around the family home. Only 35% of all eligible primary school age
children are enrolled at school and just 8% actually attended secondary school
(although figures are far higher in urban areas.)
Over 100,000 children there orphaned by AIDS
in one year alone, it was estimated that 18% of the country's entire population
were orphans or abandoned children.