Ouagadougou ( , Mossi: ) is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural
and economic center of the nation.
It is also the country's
largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 (as of 2006
The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga
inhabitants are called ouagalais
Ouagadougou's primary industries are food processing
. It is served by an international
airport, rail links to Abidjan in Côte
d'Ivoire and to Kaya in the north of Burkina, and a highway to Niamey, Niger.
Being such a focal point, there are many cinema
and French, American, and Zaka cultural centers
. Ouagadougou was the site
of Ouagadougou grand market, one of the largest markets in West Africa
, which burned in 2003 and remains
closed. Other attractions include the National Museum of Burkina
Faso, the Moro-Naba Palace (site of the Moro-Naba Ceremony
), the National Museum of Music
The name Ouagadougou
goes back to the 15th century when
the Yonyonse and the Ninsi tribes inhabited the area. They were in constant
conflict until 1441 when Wubri, a Yonyonse hero and an important
figure in Burkina
Faso’s history, led his tribe to victory.
renamed the area from “Kumbee-Tenga,” as the Ninsi had called it,
to “Wogodogo,” meaning "where people get honor and respect."
is a corruption of Wogodogo. The spelling of
the name Ouagadougou
is derived from the French
orthography common in former French
African colonies. The country changed its name from 'Upper Volta'
to Burkina Faso in the 1980s. If English orthography were used (as
in Ghana or Nigeria), the spelling would be
Ouagadougou, situated on the central plateau (12.4° N 1.5° W), grew
around the imperial palace of the Mogho
. Being an administrative center of colonial rule, it
became an important urban center in the post-colonial era. First
the capital of the Mossi Empire
later of Upper Volta and Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou became a
veritable communal center in 1995.
The first municipal elections were held in 1956.
Ouagadougou is governed by a mayor, who is elected for a five-year
term, two senior councillors, and 90 councillors.
The city is divided into five arrondissements, consisting of 30
sectors, which are subdivided into districts. Districts of
Ouagadougou include Gounghin, Kamsaoghin, Koulouba, Moemmin,
Niogsin, Paspanga, Peuloghin, Bilbalogho, and Tiendpalogo.
Seventeen villages comprise the Ouagadougou metropolitan area,
which is about 219.3 km².
The population of this area is estimated to be 1,475,000
inhabitants, 48% of which are men and 52% women. The rural
population is about 5% and the urban population about 95% of the
total, and the density is 6,727 inhabitants per square kilometer,
according to 2006 census.
Concerning city management, the communes of Ouagadougou have made
the decision to invest in huge projects. This is largely because
Ouagadougou constitutes a 'cultural centre' by merit of holding the
(International Arts and Crafts fair) and
(Panafrican Film and Television
Festival of Ouagadougou). Moreover, the growing affluence of the
villages allow for such investment, and the fact that the
population is growing rapidly necessitates it.
The Arrondissements of Ouagadougou
|Population (Census 2006)
The climate of Ouagadougou
hot. The city is part of the Soudano-Sahelian area, with a rainfall
of per year. The rainy season stretches from May to October, with
an average temperature of . The cold season runs from December to
January, with a minimum temperature of . The maximum temperature
during the hot season, which runs from April to May, can reach .
(a dry wind) and the
are the two main factors that
determine Ouagadougou's climate."
has its head office in the
Air Burkina Storey Building (French
Immeuble Air Burkina) in Ouagadougou.
The Bangr-Weoogo urban park (area: ), before colonialism, belonged
to the Mosse chiefs. Considering it a sacred forest, many went
there for traditional initiations or for refuge. The French
colonists, disregarding its local significance and history,
established it as a park in the 1930s. In 1985, renovations were
done in the park. In January 2001, the park was renamed “Parc
Urbain Bangr-Weoogo,” meaning "the urban park of the forest of
Another notable park in Ouagadougou is the “L’Unité Pédagogique”,
which shelters animals in a semi-free state. This botanic
garden/biosphere system stretches over and also serves as a museum
for the country’s history.
“Jardin de l’amitié Ouaga-Loudun” (Garden of Ouaga-Loudun
Friendship), with a green space that was renovated in 1996, is a
symbol of the twin-city relationship between Ouagadougou and Loudun
in France. It is situated in the center of the city, near the
“Nation Unies’ crossroads.”
“Naba Koom” is a statue depicting a woman handling a calabash
to pour water. The high statue faces the
railway station, welcoming travellers into Ouaga. The place bears
the name of an important chief in Burkina Faso’s history.
“Laongo”, east of the city, features enormous granite slabs that
were designed by various sculptors. The exhibit displays works of
art from five continents.
“La Place du Grand Lyon” is a monument that reflects the
relationship between Burkina Faso’s capital and Lyon in France. It
is located near the French cultural Center George Melies and
features an imposing lion.A zoo called “Parc Animalier de Ziniaré”
is located east of the city in the hometown of the president.
Social life and education
Though literacy in Ouagadougou is not high, there are ten
universities in the city. The state University of Ouagadougou
founded in 1974. The official language is French and the principal
local languages are More
bilingual program in schools (French plus one of the local
languages) was established in 1994.
Sport, culture, and leisure
A wide array of sports, including association football
, and volleyball
, is played by Ouagadougou inhabitants.
There are sports tournaments and activities organized by the local
There are a number of cultural and art venues, such as the Maison
du Peuple and Salle des Banquets, in addition to performances of
many genres of music, including traditional folk music, modern
music, and rap
Art and crafts
Several international festivals and activities are organized within
the municipality, such as FESPACO
(Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou), which is
Africa's largest festival of this type, SIAO
(International Art and Craft Fair), FESPAM (Pan-African Music
Festival), FITMO (International Theatre and Marionnette Festival)
A side street.
Ouagadougou has both state and private hospitals. The two state
hospitals in the city are the Centre hospitalier national Yalgado
Ouedraogo (CHNYO) and the Centre hospitalier national pédiatrique
Charles de Gaulle (CHNP-CDG), but there are also private hospitals.
Despite that, the local population still largely trusts traditional
local medicine and the “pharmacopée.”
The city's automobiles are generally small and inexpensively made,
using a small two-stroke cycle
engine. Ouagadougou's citizens also travel in green cabs
, which take their passengers anywhere in town
for 200 to 400 CFA
, but the price is
higher after 10:00 p.m. and can then reach 1000CFA
Airport serves the area with flights to West Africa and
Housing in Ouagadougou
Twin towns — Sister cities
- National 2006 census final results
- Commune Ouagadougou (2005). Mairie de Ouagadougou. Retrieved
March 19, 2006 from Mairie de Ouagadougou
- " Contact-us." Air Burkina. Retrieved on 19 October 2009.
- " Contactez-nous." Air Burkina. Retrieved on 19 October
- La Girafe (2004). Ouaga-ca-bouge. Retrieved March 19, 2006 from
au Burkina Faso
- Commune Ouagadougou.(2005). Mairie de Ouagadougou. Retrieved
March 19, 2006 from http://www.mairie-Ouaga.bf
- Ouagadougou and Taipei establish sister cities
- Sister city list (.DOC)