The truncated “Ouaga” is a popular nickname for Ouagadougou. Once called Upper Volta, the country’s name Burkina Faso roughly translates to land of the honest people.
Ouagadougou is 3.2 miles (5.1 kilometers) from Nazinga Reserve, home to West Africa’s greatest elephant population.
The Guinness World Records recognizes Ouagadougou’s favorite adopted son, Cheick Ahmed al-Hassan Sanou–also known as strongman Iron Biby. After becoming the world’s overhead log lift champion in April 2019, Burkino Faso’s Iron Biby also set a global record by overhead pressing a person 82 times in one minute.
Research website numbeo lacks specific data to rank Ouagadougou on its comprehensive global quality of life rating which benchmarks 250 cities worldwide. Numbeo does provide aggregate data for Burkina Faso on several individual factors. For instance, Burkina Faso’s safety score ranks in the bottom 38%. Burkina Faso lags in the bottom 7% for poorest health care scores while enduring a low score among the worst 10% for traffic commute times.
Ouagadougou was the site of Islamist attacks on January 15, 2016 in which 30 people were killed and at least 56 others were injured. Government forces ended the siege the next morning after three perpetrators were killed. The death toll could have been much higher given that 176 hostages were freed. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks which breeched Ouagadougou’s Cappuccino restaurant and Splendid Hotel.
From an international trade perspective, Burkina Faso exported an estimated US$3.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include gold (69.6% of Burkina Faso’s global total), uncombed cotton (10.8%), unwrought zinc (4.8%), miscellaneous oil seeds and oleaginous fruits (4.2%), cashews and coconuts (2.9%), vegetable fats and oils (1%), and powered aircraft including airplanes and helicopters (0.9%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Cathedral of Ouagadougou, Grande Mosque of Ouagadougou, Moro-Naba Palace and the National Museum of Burkina Faso
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
- Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, president (born Apr. 25, 1957)
- Jacky Ido, actor & director (born May 14, 1977)
- Jeanne d’Arc Yaméogo, actress (born Jan. 31, 1975)
- Simon Compaoré, former mayor (born Sep. 19, 1952)
- Apolline Traoré, director (born 1976)
- Serge Bambara, hip hop artist & actor (born Oct. 24, 1971)
- Seydou Boro, actor, dancer & choreographer (born Feb. 20, 1968)
- Frédéric Guirma, former politician & ambassador (born Apr. 27, 1931)
- Marie Françoise Ouedraogo, parliamentarian & mathematician (born Dec. 3, 1967)
- Salimata Sawadogo, magistrate & ambassador (born Dec. 31, 1958)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for an Ouagadougou resident: Ouagalese (ouagalais in French)
Population: 2,780,331 (Ouagadougou) at August 7, 2020
Density: 15,446 people per square mile (5,964 per square kilometer)
Population: 20,965,315 (Burkina Faso) at August 7, 2020
Density: 198 people per square mile (76 per square kilometer)
Median age for all Burkina Faso: 17.6 years old
GDP:US$42.2 billion in 2019 (Burkina Faso)
GDP per person: $2,077
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Ouagadougou were unavailable.
Official currency used in Ouagadougou: West African CFA franc
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Most overhead presses of a person in one minute.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, National Agency for Promotion of ICT, Burkina Faso.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Burkina Faso.
Wikipedia, 2016 Ouagadougou attacks .
WorldOMeter, Burkina Faso Population.
World Population Review, Ouagadougou Population.
Ouagalese celebrate Republic Day each December 11.
Ouagadougou’s urbanized area measures about 180 square miles (466.2 square kilometers), home to 2.8 million people at August 7, 2020.
At the country level, Burkina Faso’s land area covers 105,638 square miles (273,600 square kilometers). The nation’s population count was 21 million inhabitants as of August 2020.
Population density is more concentrated for Burkina Faso’s capital, averaging 15,446 Ouagalese per square mile (5,964 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to Burkina Faso’s overall land boundaries, population density dilutes to an average 198 residents per square mile (76 per square kilometer).